New Zealand in midst of teacher shortage

New figures outlining just how severe New Zealand’s teacher shortage is have been released.

The scale of the shortages means that, in addition to encouraging more New Zealanders into teaching, the country will need to look overseas to bring in qualified teachers.

According to NZ’s Education Minister Chris Hipkins, the number of people enrolled in teacher training has dropped by a massive 40 per cent.

Between 2010 and 2016 (the latest available figures), those enrolled in Initial Teacher Education (ITE) fell from 14,585 to just 8,895. During this period, New Zealand’s population grew by around 400,000. Those who completed ITE dropped from 5,010 to 3,665.

In addition to potentially recruiting overseas, the government has taken a number of steps to improve the education system and encourage more New Zealanders to become teachers.

These steps include:

– Introducing a NZ$9.5 million teacher supply package before Christmas;

– Removing National Standards – which Hipkins says many teachers and parents strongly opposed;

– Giving teachers and principals more say on the way their profession is led and administered; and

– Started the ball rolling on ways to tackle the long-term strategic issue of making the teaching profession more attractive.

One major issue that many overseas qualified teachers have previously faced with regards to finding work in a NZ school is getting their qualifications assessed to the NZ standard.

Nearly all foreign teachers had to complete a Teacher Education Refresher (TER) course at a cost of NZ$4,000. However, in December, Hipkins announced that the costs of the TER would be met by the ministry for teachers enrolled and starting the course before 30th June.

Article published 1st March 2018