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Louise Green, NZEI

Hiring unqualified teachers “absolutely inappropriate”

A government plan to allow “trainee teachers” to “learn on the job” in schools has appalled educators, who will fight the move at an education Select Committee hearing today.

The last-minute amendment to the Education Legislation Bill would enable schools to hire an unqualified person cheaply in an unsupervised teaching role while they undertook an initial teacher training programme.

NZEI Te Riu Roa president Louise Green said no one in the education sector and certainly no parents had asked for such a move.

“As a principal, I know that taking trainees straight off the street and putting them in front of a classroom is absolutely inappropriate.  Teachers need high-quality, professional training and education to learn the skills of teaching. They need an understanding of child development and the curriculum.”

Ms Green said the move made no sense, particularly as there is already an oversupply of certificated and registered primary teachers nationally.  This includes beginning teachers – according to the Ministry of Education,  just 15 per cent of new teacher graduates are getting permanent fulltime jobs.

“The amendments appear to be wholly inconsistent with the government’s goal of lifting the status of teaching and moving towards teaching as a post-graduate profession.

“Any teacher will tell you how daunting it to teach a class just after graduating with a teaching qualification. It beggars belief that someone could hope to be an effective teacher with anything less.”


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One comment

  1. “unqualified” as in not having completed a teacher training program? In secondary, you may be faced with having a “qualified” accountant available to teach. Compare this with a reliever who may be “qualified” as a teacher but no subject knowledge.
    Understand primary concerns, but would have liked to see more details around what specifically the amendment is suggesting. For example, police checked? For temporary positions of less than two weeks? Would the hired person be mentored? If so, would the mentor have a time allocation to ensure mentoring is effective? Which teacher training program? Teach First has an accelerated program that takes very “qualified” people and develops the teacher skills in conjunction with on the job experience.