Chronic teacher shortage laid bare

New figures out today show how the National Government failed schools and students – with the number of people enrolled in teacher training dropping by a massive 40% under its watch, Education Minister Chris Hipkins says.

Between 2010 and 2016 (the latest available figures), those enrolled in Initial Teacher Education (ITE) dropped by 5690, from 14,585 (EFTS) to just 8895. During this period, New Zealand’s population grew by around 400,000. Those who completed ITE dropped by 5010 to 3665.

The information is just published on the Ministry of Education’s Education Counts

“The numbers are staggering,” Mr Hipkins said.

  • ECE teacher trainees down from 6760 to 3615
  • Primary teacher trainees down from 5740 to 4065
  • Secondary teacher trainees down from 1865 to 1120 

“In each case, the numbers were going in the opposite direction between 2008 and 2010.

“While tertiary enrolments overall declined between 2010 and 2016, the drop is much more pronounced in teacher training.   

“It’s a shocking failure of planning by the previous National Government that has left an  immediate shortage of teachers, but more worryingly, a ticking time bomb for schools as baby boomer teachers retire and too few incoming teachers coming through to take over.

“This Government has already picked up the pace to get on top of the problem. We:

  • introduced a $9.5 million teacher supply package before Christmas
  • have removed National Standards – which teachers and many parents strongly opposed
  • have moved to give teachers and principals more say on the way their profession is led and administered, and
  • have started the ball rolling on ways to tackle the long-term strategic issue of making the teaching profession more attractive.”    

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