Teacher shortages avoidable

Clayton Mitchell
New Zealand First MP

Our educators on the front line are describing a perfect storm that needs to be addressed.

Increased immigration means more students, increasing housing costs – to buy or to rent – and higher living costs mean it is more expensive for teachers to live in major centres (with the highest immigration levels).

Teacher incomes are not keeping pace with modern life in New Zealand, leading to fewer Kiwis training to become teachers than in the past. If we don't have our best people becoming teachers, our current and future students will suffer.

In the latest online edition of the Education Gazette, there are 225 advertisements for at least 287 primary and intermediate teachers, just in Auckland. One school is losing seven teachers at the end of this year, and another – that lost nine from its 34 classes last year – has reported that at least six of those teachers left Auckland because it was too expensive to stay.

Auckland's rapidly growing population is far outstripping supply. Some in the media and on talkback radio are suggesting we need to import more teachers, but that is only a short-term stop-gap solution.

We have to be serious about looking at the fundamental issues, so Kiwi kids have the opportunity of learning from quality Kiwi teachers, if we want a long-term sustainable education sector.

Bringing in people from overseas, to fill a gap and work for less, is not working in any sector, and we will keep storing up problems for the future.

New Zealand First is the only party calling for serious responses to this growing list of challenges.

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