Trainee teach­ers in de­cline

Kapi-Mana News - - CONVERSATIONS - LAURA DOONEY

Poor pay, high stress, and bet­ter ca­reer op­tions are be­ing blamed for fewer peo­ple com­plet­ing teacher train­ing.

Fig­ures re­leased by the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion show the to­tal num­ber of peo­ple train­ing across the early child­hood, pri­mary and se­condary ed­u­ca­tion sec­tors fell from 4830 in 2014 to 4220 in 2015 - a drop of 610.

The num­ber of stu­dents fin­ish­ing ini­tial teacher ed­u­ca­tion had de­clined since 2012, while the num­ber com­plet­ing se­condary teach­ing qual­i­fi­ca­tions has steadily dropped since 2009.

Mean­while, a re­port put to­gether by the Post Pri­mary Teach­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion and Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion last year ad­dress­ing the is­sue of teacher sup­ply in the se­condary sec­tor says up to 1400 new se­condary teach­ers will be needed ev­ery year for the next eight years to en­sure there are enough teach­ers in front of kids.

Onslow Col­lege prin­ci­pal Peter Leg­gat said it was get­ting tougher to find teach­ers, par­tic­u­larly in high-de­mand ar­eas such as maths and science. The school was lucky in that it had a rel­a­tively sta­ble staff, but two maths teach­ers who left at the end of last year had been tricky to re­place.

Fewer peo­ple were train­ing to be teach­ers in the maths, science and IT ar­eas, and were find­ing jobs out­side the sec­tor.

Leg­gat did not think there was much that could be done to lure those peo­ple into schools.

‘‘To be a teacher, it’s more of a call­ing. We don’t do it for the money, it’s a mat­ter of find­ing those peo­ple who have a pas­sion for teach­ing.’’

Porirua Col­lege prin­ci­pal Ragne Maxwell said while there was still a ‘‘rea­son­able’’ amount of teach­ers ap­ply­ing for po­si­tions teach­ing English and so­cial sci­ences, any­one trained in tech­nol­ogy could get bet­ter paid jobs else­where.

‘‘We’re def­i­nitely con­cerned about this sit­u­a­tion. We all know the sin­gle fac­tor that has the great­est im­pact is the qual­ity of the teacher in the class­room,’’ Maxwell said. ‘‘Schools need to be able to se­lect, from a good pool, a teacher that will fit into the school.’’

New Zealand Se­condary Prin­ci­pals’ Coun­cil chair­man James Mor­ris said teach­ing was not seen as a pres­ti­gious pro­fes­sion, or one that al­lowed peo­ple to make a lot of money. Fewer peo­ple were ap­ply­ing for roles, and in some cases the process might be rushed as prin­ci­pals tried to se­cure a per­son.

PHOTO: MARTIN HUNTER/FAIR­FAX NZ

The num­ber of stu­dents fin­ish­ing teacher train­ing has been de­clin­ing for sev­eral years.

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