Teacher unions say the changes announced for teacher education aimed at improving teacher quality and supply are more about "appearance, not substance" and will not address the nationwide teacher shortage.
“In the context of serious shortages in key subject areas and wider challenges in other subjects and in an increasing number of geographical areas [the] policy release is a fail”, says PPTA president Jack Boyle.
“The recruitment ‘initiatives’ she is touting fail in any way to make more people want to come into teaching. An investment in 15 extra places that may or may not add to the numbers seeking to train as teachers is basically meaningless.”
“New Zealand needs to replace 1750 secondary each year just to stay afloat. When we can’t even do that, announcing 15 new places for trainee secondary teachers is akin to announcing a pimple on a pumpkin," he said.
Boyle said there is nothing to address the recommendations the sector agreed with government in the teacher supply report last year.
NZEI Te Riu Roa President Lynda Stuart welcomed the government's interest in increasing the supply of teachers in hard-to-staff areas, but said that unless it was prepared to address the true reason why some areas were hard to staff, the problem would not go away.
“Infrastructure such as efficient transport and affordable housing are essential to keep teachers in areas like Auckland and Queenstown.
“And unless the modest pay levels of teachers are addressed, it will grow ever harder to attract and retain our best and brightest in teaching,” she said.