By: Simon Collins
Education Minister Nikki Kaye says the Government will spend $1 million a year for the next two years to pay $7000 to the teachers and $3000 “finding fees” to the schools that recruit them.
The grants will also be available to foreign teachers recruited for jobs “in hard-to-staff areas, subjects or schools”.
However details of which areas, subjects or schools will qualify have not yet been finalised.
“The plan is to analyse where those gaps are, but definitely Auckland, science and te reo,” Kaye said.
“It won’t just be Auckland. We’ll have to work our way through the applications that come in and where we can match them to vacancies.”
Asked whether mathematics might be included, she said: “We’ll have a look at that.”
Kaye’s predecessor Hekia Parata axed a previous scheme in 2015 which paid up to $5000 for NZ-trained teachers and $4000 for overseas-trained teachers to teach in any NZ state or integrated school. That scheme was not limited to hard-to-staff areas or subjects.
Kaye acknowledged that reviving the scheme could give a windfall to some Kiwi expatriates who would have come home anyway.
“When it was used from 2000 to 2015 you can’t guarantee that someone might not have been deciding to come home anyway,” she said.
“But from my perspective if there was an overall benefit – say 90 per cent of those people were not going to come home and 10 per cent might have been – it was still worth it.”
She said she was “open-minded” about whether the scheme might need to be widened.
“If we need to spend more and extend it then we will,” she said.
She has also:
• Approved another $1 million to extend for one more year a pilot scheme which paid Auckland primary schools $24,000 each to employ 40 beginner teachers from the start of this year, even though their rolls were not expected to grow enough to justify the extra teachers until part-way through this year.
• Approved an application from AUT University to offer teacher training at its Manukau campus from 2018 as well as the existing courses at its Akoranga campus.
Auckland Primary Principals Association president Kevin Bush welcomed the new measures but said the beginner teacher subsidy should be extended to all Auckland schools. He said 100 grants to recruit overseas were not enough.
“Given that at the start of this term, 50 per cent of Auckland primary schools were looking for another 80 teachers [in total], yes, it’s going to make a difference, but if it’s only 100 teachers a year it’s not enough,” he said.
Education Personnel recruitment manager Stuart Birch said the grant would help NZ recruiters compete with other countries.
“Teachers are in high demand around the world and there are a lot of places internationally that offer pretty attractive relocation packages,” he said.
“I know from our recruitment from the UK and Ireland that we’ve had a considerable number of teachers interested in coming overseas, but saying I’m going to Dubai because they will pay for my flights and give me a house,” he said.
He said “dozens” of teachers had been recruited from Britain and Ireland since the Government started a recruiting campaign there two years ago, and “a lot more” were coming for the start of next year.
Labour education spokesman Chris Hipkins said: “The reinstatement of relocation grants makes sense. They never should have cut them in the first place.”
Source: NZ Herald