Ed­u­ca­tion cri­sis warn­ing

Te Awamutu Courier - - News -

Te Awa­mutu Col­lege prin­ci­pal Tony Mem­bery took the op­por­tu­nity dur­ing his ad­dress at the school’s se­nior prize­giv­ing to ‘get po­lit­i­cal’.

Af­ter wel­com­ing ev­ery­one to the event to cel­e­brate the achieve­ments of their stu­dents, thank­ing them for their sup­port and prais­ing the board of trustees and staff for their ex­cel­lent work, he said there was a cri­sis in ed­u­ca­tion due to the teacher short­age.

He said it was now across all sub­jects and had been grow­ing dur­ing pre­vi­ous Gov­ern­ments and was in­her­ited by the cur­rent lead­ers.

“Peo­ple re­spon­si­ble for the pre­dic­tions and sup­ply at the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion and Col­leges of Ed­u­ca­tion have much to an­swer for,” he said.

“The Gov­ern­ment and Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion are dream­ing if they think that they will find the re­quired teach­ers in the next two months.”

Tony said the sta­tis­tics for the fu­ture now made bleak read­ing and he could not see any plan in place that would solve the is­sue.

His own sur­vey of his se­nior stu­dents showed fewer each year plan ca­reers in teach­ing at any level.

For those young peo­ple who do en­ter the pro­fes­sion, at­tri­tion is shock­ing — 20 per cent of pri­mary and 50 per cent of se­condary teach­ers leave within five years of grad­u­at­ing.

“We can’t re­cruit and train enough teach­ers; we can’t re­tain enough teach­ers; and a large num­ber of se­condary teach­ers are due to re­tire in the next five to 10 years.

“The sta­tus of this valu­able pro­fes­sion needs rais­ing.”

Tony said suf­fi­cient num­bers of suit­able teach­ers need to be trained and if that meant re­turn­ing to the old sys­tem of pay­ing their way through Uni­ver­sity and Teacher Train­ing and then bond­ing them for a pe­riod of ser­vice in New Zealand — “then do it”.

“I urge our com­mu­nity to let politi­cians know that you are wor­ried and that you value the im­por­tant role that teach­ers play in the lives of our chil­dren and teenagers.

“Ed­u­ca­tion should not be a po­lit­i­cal foot­ball.”

Board of trustees chair­man Craig Yarnd­ley said he un­der­stood his ad­dress should be a board re­port, but said he posted meet­ing sum­maries on the school web­site through­out the year and as­sumed ev­ery­one had read them.

In­stead he of­fered some thoughts that would be of ben­e­fit to the stu­dents, and the rest of the school com­mu­nity at prize­giv­ing.

He said Te Awa­mutu Col­lege and its com­mu­nity was blessed to have Tony Mem­bery, his se­nior man­age­ment team and staff that we have.

Craig thanked par­ents and wha¯nau of the school for sup­port­ing stu­dents in their en­deav­ours to get to school, com­plete work and as­sign­ments and take ad­van­tage of ev­ery­thing the school had to of­fer.

On be­half of the board, he thanked all the con­trac­tors and as­so­ci­ated per­son­nel who helped pro­vide a safe and up to date learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment so stu­dents could flour­ish. He also took the op­por­tu­nity to thank the Rogers Trust, which as­sists the school com­mu­nity with ad­di­tional fund­ing when it is avail­able.

He thanked his own board for their dili­gence and hard work to per­form the role they were elected for and said they helped set a great tone for the school.

Fi­nally he thanked the stu­dents.

“You all need to use the foun­da­tion that has been set, to take hold of all op­por­tu­ni­ties of­fered and push your­selves to be the best you can be,” said Craig.

He said stu­dents needed to mea­sure them­selves against the only mea­sure that mat­ters — “Did I do my best?”

“Don’t shoot your­self in the foot if you stuff up or feel you have missed an op­por­tu­nity.

“Re­mem­ber, to­mor­row is al­ways an­other day, so start then.

“How­ever, don’t let to­mor­row be an ex­cuse for not do­ing your best to­day.”

Photo / Dean Tay­lor

Te Awa­mutu Col­lege prin­ci­pal Tony Mem­bery called for the com­mu­nity to let Gov­ern­ment know ed­u­ca­tion was val­ued and a so­lu­tion to the teacher short­age was vi­tal.

Photo / Dean Tay­lor

Te Awa­mutu Col­lege Board of Trustees chair­man Craig Yarnd­ley thanked var­i­ous peo­ple and groups for work­ing to­gether to make Te Awa­mutu Col­lege such a great school.

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