Pre-Budget teachers package not enough to curb shortage – former teacher

By Talisa Kupenga

The government has allocated $95mil over four years to help address the country's teacher shortage in a pre-budget 2019 announcement.

Education consultant Huia Puketapu says while funding is a start it's not nearly enough.

"It's all very good and well to provide the funding to train more people [but] if support funding is not put in place to support people to practice what they've learnt in the region that needs them, like Te Tai Tokerau, then they will just go to the same places that they're already going to now."

Puketapu says more needs to be done to support Māori learners.

"We've got a shortage of teachers across the country, another layer from that is we have a shortage of Māori teachers and another layer of that, still, we have a shortage of kaiako māori within kura kaupapa."

National Party education spokesperson Nikki Kaye says the announcement doesn't go far enough.   

"While you haven't resolved the basic pay and workload issues there's no way we're going to be able to get enough teachers in classrooms.  On the Ministry of Education's own numbers we need 8,000 more in the next five years."

Budget 2019 will fund 2480 additional trainee teacher places through:
 

  • 1,890 TeachNZ scholarships.
  • 300 Teach First NZ places for recruitment into low decile secondary schools.
  • 240 new employment-based teacher Ed programme positions for secondary teachers.
  • 80 iwi based scholarships.

The package will also support 800 beginning teachers into their first roles.

National Party Māori education spokeswoman Jo Hayes says, "Eighty Māori scholarships, there's no detail around that.  Who's going to get it?  Where it's going to go to?  And that's the issue around the regions, are any scholarships going to go around to the regions?  So many gaps."

Associate Education Minister (Māori Education) Kelvin Davis says "It will increase in time, it's a start.  We can't fix all the problems left by the previous government."

But Puketapu says making the roles attractive for students to want to seek that profession is “a task in itself”.

Te Rūnanganui o Ngā Kura Kaupapa Māori chairwoman Cathy Dewes says this could bring opportunities for Māori to take up teaching, which Te Runanganui supports, but they were yet to see what this would mean for Te Runanganui and Te Aho Matua schools.