Otago Daily Times

Onthejob training programme delayed


WELLINGTON: A planned new onthejob teacher training scheme has been delayed by a year because New Zealand’s teacher shortage is over.

The latest Ministry of Education projection­s, released yesterday, show the supply of primary teachers is expected to fully meet the demand this year and out to 2023, both nationally and in Auckland.

The shortfall of secondary teachers, which was expected to be 1750 by 2023 when the ministry’s first projection­s were published in 2018, is now expected to be only 100, as New Zealanders come home from a Covid19rav­aged world to retrain in teaching.

As a result, the Government has postponed a proposal, announced in 2019, to start a new onthejob training scheme for 80 new secondary teachers a year from this year.

A notice on the government tenders site says the scheme, which was due to go to tender in the September quarter of last year, is still ‘‘awaiting approval’’.

A ministry spokesman said the scheme would now start next year ‘‘and must have a focus on subjects and sectors facing teacher supply pressures such as the Maori medium sector, te reo Maori and STEM [science, technology, engineerin­g, maths] subjects’’.

‘‘It is expected that contracts will be confirmed early 2021, with the first students commencing the employment­based programmes no later than the beginning of 2022,’’ he said.

University of Auckland education dean Mark Barrow, who leads the New Zealand Council of Deans of Education, said any new programme would need Teaching Council approval and ‘‘would be struggling to get something going’’ even by next year.

University of Canterbury education dean Letitia Fickel said many New Zealanders who were teaching English overseas had come home to train as mainstream teachers.

She also saw a dramatic leap in careerswit­chers whose hightech jobs overseas had disappeare­d and who had come home to train in teaching — potentiall­y relieving New Zealand’s chronic shortage of teachers in maths, science and technology.

Canterbury’s oneyear postgradua­te secondary teacher training enrolments had jumped from about 100 last year to 160, including a leap from about 20 to about 50 in maths, science and technology.

Prof Barrow said Auckland’s oneyear postgradua­te numbers had doubled overall, from 110 to 220 for primary teaching and from 150 to 280 in secondary. He did not yet have numbers for maths and science specialist­s.

‘‘They amazing figures, but in both cases, for reasons we don’t really understand, 2020 was a low year,’’ he said.

‘‘So we are back at the same sort of numbers as in 2017 and 2018.’’

He said total numbers were up by about 15% at Waikato, Massey and Victoria Universiti­es.

The ministry projection­s continue to show growth in secondary pupil numbers offset by a slight decline in primary numbers out to 2026, as a small ‘‘baby blip’’ of children born about 200809 move through the secondary system.

The demand for secondary teachers is expected to grow nationally from 27,140 this year to 28,650 by 2025, before starting to fall back to 28,540 in 2026.

In Auckland, the demand is projected to grow from 7870 to 8330 before falling back to 8280.

However, these numbers are all lower than the previous projection­s in 2019 because overseas students are not expected to start arriving again until next year, ‘‘returning to 2019 levels by 2025’’.

On the other hand, the supply of teachers has been boosted by returning New Zealanders and fewer teachers leaving the country, so the shortfall of secondary teachers by 2023 has been slashed from 1750 to 100 nationally, and from 680 to 60 in Auckland.

The supply of primary teachers is projected to exactly equal the demand, both nationally and in Auckland, this year and in both the next two years. — The New Zealand Herald

The demand for teachers, especially in highdecile secondary schools, has been slashed by the closure of New Zealand’s border, which has stopped overseas pupils entering the country since last March.

The supply of teachers was boosted before the pandemic by a drive to recruit several thousand teachers from overseas.

Although the border closure stopped overseas recruitmen­t, the supply of teachers has been further boosted by New Zealanders returning from Covid19hit countries to either return to teaching here or to train in teaching.


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