The Ministry of Education’s overseas recruitment campaign has resulted in over 1000 qualified overseas teachers being prepared for interviews at New Zealand schools with 225 of these having accepted roles already.
Principals’ Federation president Whetu Cormick told the Herald that the overseas recruitment campaign was definitely helping.
However, many Auckland principals are reporting difficulty in recruiting staff as schools go back this week and next.
National’s Education spokesperson Nikki Kaye agrees the Government must do more to address the shortages.
“The fact that some Ministry reports indicate that one in six schools have several vacancies in areas like Auckland is hugely problematic and shows that the Government must address this issue as a matter of urgency.”
“Retention and recruitment issues are problematic for teachers, students and their families who are facing larger class sizes and additional stress as a result.
Kaye says extending the voluntary bonding scheme to all of Auckland would have helped address the problem. She says additional investment in Teach NZ programmes to help incentivise people into the profession is also needed.
“This is a big year for education with a number of challenges ahead including potential strikes at both primary and secondary levels. One of the core issues for secondary teachers in areas like Auckland is the rising cost of living which has been raised in their claim,” says Kaye.
“The Ministry know that the long term shortages projected can’t be resolved without policy changes. Despite this they are yet to produce the long term workforce development strategy which they have been working on for close to a year and a half.”
Meanwhile ACT Leader David Seymour believes the way forward is for schools to ditch union contracts and pay the best teachers what they are worth.
“Good teachers help kids reach their full potential. Unfortunately, because of union contracts, teachers hit maximum pay after ten years, schools can’t reward successful teachers, and teaching isn’t seen as a viable career for our brightest graduates,” he says.
“It’s no wonder that so few graduates are entering the profession, or are deserting it, when initiative and hard work are not rewarded.”