Education Minister Hekia Parata’s announcement yesterday of the members of the new teacher professional body, the Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand (EDUCANZ) has angered teacher unions.
The Council will be chaired by Auckland principal Barbara Ala’alatoa. Other members are Anthony Mackay (Deputy Chairperson), Claire Amos, Simon Heath, Ripeka Lessels, Iva Ropati, Lynda Stuart, Helen Timperley and Clare Wells.
The primary teachers union, NZEI has criticised the way the Council members have been hand-picked.
“Only one person on the new body replacing the New Zealand Teachers Council has been democratically elected by the profession through an electoral process run by NZEI," says President Louise Green.
“This is a sad day for the teaching profession. A democratically elected council has been replaced by a group hand-picked by the Minister.
“Despite the Minister’s claims, EDUCANZ is not independent and does not represent teachers or the teaching profession. Instead it will be seen by teachers as another vehicle set up by the Government to exert control over the teaching profession,” says Green.
However, the Education Minister defended the selection process, describing is as “ thorough, rigorous and robust, and conducted according to State Services Commission guidelines”.
“Of the council members, all but Mr Mackay, who is based in Melbourne, emerged through the public nomination process. Six are registered teachers which will ensure teachers are well-represented on their new professional body,” says Parata.
“145 nominations were received and the 24 nominees shortlisted were interviewed by a panel comprising Education Review Office chief executive, Iona Holsted, the former principal of Wellington High Prue Kelly, who was recently appointed to oversee new teacher and principal positions in Communities of Schools, and Institute of Directors Board Service Advisor Kelly McGregor.”
EDUCANZ is the new statutory body established under the Education Amendment Act 2015, replacing the New Zealand Teachers Council. It assumes responsibility for managing policies and processes for registration, practising certification, and disciplinary and competence functions for teachers in New Zealand, and for the accreditation of initial teacher education programmes.