If New Zealand is to avoid a genuine crisis in education provision for our young people in the near future, a few things need to happen. As a start, the bar to entry for primary school teaching needs to go much higher in terms of prerequisite qualifications in maths, science and English. Lift the entry requirements and create a genuine bar for aspiring teachers to strive for, thus lifting the intake quality and enhancing the reputation of the profession in the eyes of Kiwi families.
This is what they do in Finland.
Teachers and their unions need to stop whingeing about their jobs. Seriously, nowhere else on the planet does a profession have 12-14 holiday weeks a year. If you have to do some work in those holidays – woolly-boolly – you still have huge choices about how you go about that while in Fiji or Bali.
Yes teachers work during the holidays. But to not have to turn up to an office for 40 hours a week is a huge advantage. I know. I work from home, and it is way superior to being in an office.
13 weeks a year away from the “office” and $76,000 a year isn’t terrible. That’s probably why there is a 94% retention rate.
Schools and principals need far more employment choice to meet their local needs. I was stunned when former PPTA president Angela Roberts stated to the world that “of course South Auckland Middle School is successful, it is bulk-funded” when the unions have made it game priority No 1 to stop schools from having this opportunity. Give teachers the ability to negotiate their own pay and conditions – they are big boys and girls – and let principals and boards make some genuine resourcing decisions.
Bulk funding would see a huge increase in salaries for the best teachers.