The Government is changing its approach to teacher recruitment as COVID-19 travel restrictions continue, by boosting a range of initiatives to get more Kiwis into teaching.
“When we came into Government, we were faced with a teacher supply crisis,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said.
“Over the past three years, we have invested $135 million on a range of teacher supply initiatives, including recruiting teachers from overseas to plug the immediate gap. We also gave teachers the biggest pay rises in a decade to ensure that we have high quality teachers in our classrooms.
“The workforce is estimated to grow by 1,100 teachers by the end of this year, which means around 3,000 more teachers since 2017. We saw more teachers entering and fewer leaving between 2017 and 2019, and the estimates for 2020 show a further decrease in teachers leaving the workforce. Many of these teachers are overseas trained teachers, and they have done a fantastic job supporting our children and young people.
“While this puts us in a good place for next year, we cannot afford to take our eye off the ball now. With our borders now closed to overseas teachers wanting to work in New Zealand, we are reprioritising funding to bolster domestic teacher recruitment.
“Teaching is a strong, interesting and highly respected profession. There is no better time to return to teaching or to become a teacher. They have been leaders in our communities during COVID-19 and have helped get the country moving again.
“We want to make sure that people who have recently lost their jobs due to COVID-19 or are thinking of a change see teaching as an attractive career path. That’s why we are boosting initiatives that gets people into classrooms in as little as 12 months.”
The Government is fast-tracking the process to get qualified teachers who have left the profession back into teaching and encouraging those seeking a career change to join the profession through:
- 240 more enrolments in the Teacher Education Refresh programme which helps teachers return to or stay in classrooms. This increases Ministry subsidised enrolments to 560 and there have already been 2,621 enrolments since January 2018.
- 150 Limited Authority to Teach places for schools hiring people without teaching qualifications to teach, where specialist skills are in short supply.
- A new employment-based teaching course, giving up to 100 people the opportunity to gain a secondary teaching qualification while working as a teacher.
“Those wanting to change their career to teaching can also get financial support through 175 scholarships that pay a yearly allowance worth $30,000 and course fees,” Chris Hipkins said.