INDEPENDENT NEWS

More Teachers Only Part Of The Story

Published: Thu 2 Aug 2001 12:34 AM
United Future leader, Hon Peter Dunne, says the appointment of an additional 350 teachers is only part of the school staffing story.
"This welcome drop in the bucket is no more than that, but it will be barely noticed by most students and parents."
"The real problem we face, which this move does not address, is that teaching is no longer seen as an attractive career option."
"Consequently, the profession is greying, causing a blockage at the top in terms of available senior positions, which is forcing many capable teachers to leave in mid-career, because there are no openings for them."
"At the same time, parents can be expected to become more frustrated and angry at what they see as schools unable to meet their children's' needs, causing a very vicious circle to develop."
"When all this is coupled with the lack of attractiveness of the teaching profession for new graduates, teaching risks being forced into a cul de sac, which no amount of additional teaching positions will resolve, because there is no guarantee they will be filled," Mr Dunne says.
He says what is needed is a more thorough approach to the needs of the teaching profession, with better incentives for young people to enter it, and more attractive exit packages for older teachers who would like to move on, but presently feel trapped within the system.
"We all keep saying that education is the key to riding the future's knowledge wave, and teachers must be at the forefront of that."
"However, unless we lift our sights beyond the mediocre, and doing the bare minimum like this decision does, the pursuit of the knowledge economy will become yet another farce, where we quickly show ourselves as a nation to be incapable of keeping up with, let alone getting ahead of, the rest of the world," Mr Dunne says.
Ends

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