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Urgent action needed on teacher oversupply crisis – NZEI

graduatesThe Government needs to urgently tackle the looming crisis of a massive oversupply of beginner teachers.

NZEI National Secretary Paul Goulter says this situation has been building for a number of years because the Government has continued to ignore what was a very predictable market failure in education.

“The Government has known for years that there has been a growing oversupply of newly graduated teachers yet it has refused to do anything.

“As a result there are now hundreds of beginning teachers who cannot complete their full certification despite investing years of time, energy and money into gaining qualifications.

“This is extremely unfair for those graduates but it will also have long term damaging consequences for education.

“Many new teachers are now employed on day to day or short term relieving jobs where they don’t get the professional development, skills and mentoring required to help them become great classroom practitioners.

“So the long term consequences for quality teaching and learning are clear”.

Paul Goulter says there are solutions.

“Obviously better workforce planning is needed for a start. But graduates should expect to have the right support in place so they can complete their registration process.

“This happens in other sectors such as in medicine where graduates are provided with work and mentoring in order to complete their qualifications”.

He says it is totally irresponsible for the Government to continue to ignore what is becoming a major system crisis in education.


Job-hunting teachers told just get on your bike…

no-jobsIf you are a finding it hard to get a teaching job, Dr Graham Stoop feels he has the answer to your problems:

“We accept that finding a job can be challenging for new teacher graduates, and encourage them to look at a range of options when seeking a position, such as teaching in rural areas,”

Graham Stoop (Ministry of Education)

Thank you, Dr Stoop, for your comments.  As Basil Fawlty would say, you get an A Level in the bleeding obvious.

Teachers searching for work are doing all they can to secure a job, and such simplistic advice doesn’t help.

On Your Bike

It’s easy for Stoop to make these Tebbit-esque “on your bike” pronouncements, but unemployed teachers with bills and student loans to pay don’t want a meme-style answer or a simplistic and ill-considered life hack. What they do want is proper advice based on proper research into the problem and proper help finding appropriate work.

Or here’s a thought – why not stop churning out more and more new primary school teachers year on year into an already flooded market.

So thanks for your advice, Dr Stoop, but let’s be clear – it’s not that teachers are not trying to find jobs, it’s that there is a job shortage.

Rural jobs

On his sage advice to look for jobs in rural areas, does Dr Stoop even have evidence that rural schools are crying out for applicants?

I know of well qualified teachers with years of experience who have had trouble finding jobs in rural NZ. So how easy would it be for a BT? Or someone who’s been out of the job market for a few years? I assume Stoop has some clear facts and figures showing that things are better in, say, Matamata or Wanaka, than in Auckland or Christchurch, or why would you make these pronouncements?

NZEI did some research recently and found that over half of new graduates would indeed consider moving to find a job but, as was pointed out, even for those who would move, it’s not that straightforward.

For example, a teacher can’t always just upend their partner from their job in order to move to a rural school. Or does Dr Stoop think, perhaps, that all those struggling to find teaching positions are single, 21 year old BTs, able to go where the wind takes them?

Simple Maths

There are many complexities to the problem, but what it boils down to is very simple maths. Lots of job applicants and not many job. It’s really that simple.

And all the bike rides, sage advice and  120gsm vellum paper CVs in the world won’t magically make thousands of unemployed teachers fit into a handful of teaching jobs.


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