Thanks for the bandaid, but where’s the actual cure for our teaching workforce?

The Government’s package to recruit overseas teachers is welcomed but it’s no magic bullet for teacher shortages in early childhood education or rural primary schools.

“Where’s the strategic workforce plan to grow and support our own teachers and keep them in our communities and in the profession?” asks Kathy Wolfe, chief executive of Te Rito Maioha, a specialist tertiary provider in initial teacher education.

“While it’s good to see Government working with the sector and stepping up with funding to recruit overseas teachers and support some others into teaching, it is still a scatter-gun approach to a long-term problem.

“It is deeply frustrating to see the ongoing absence of any strategic vision and plan for the teaching workforce, that holistically addresses teacher shortages, teacher-child ratios, pay and conditions, attracting people to initial teacher education, ongoing professional development and much more.”

Kathy Wolfe said overseas teachers often lacked the cultural skills and understanding that teachers needed to deliver the NZ curriculum. “We are not saying don’t attract international diversity or upskill those teachers, but this cannot be a one-dimensional focus.”

“Right here in Aotearoa New Zealand, we have qualified and experienced ECE teachers who’ve left teaching because Government is taking too long to deliver adequate funding for pay and conditions in early childhood education.  

“They’ve got the cultural understanding, they love teaching, they’re part of our communities. Why isn’t Government strategically planning and investing so we also attract and retain our own capable, valued, supported teachers for our tamariki?”