Education Council: All teachers should study at post-grad level

Author
Nicholas Jones, NZ Herald Staff ,
Section
Education,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 5 April 2017, 6:44PM
People wanting to become teachers would need to get a post-graduate qualification, under a change floated by the Education Council in a bid to raise the status of teaching. (Photo/File)
People wanting to become teachers would need to get a post-graduate qualification, under a change floated by the Education Council in a bid to raise the status of teaching. (Photo/File)

People wanting to become teachers would need to get a post-graduate qualification, under a change floated by the Education Council in a bid to raise the status of teaching.

The change would cover all teachers - early childhood, primary and secondary - and has the backing of universities.

This goes back to the core purpose of the Education Council - to raise the status of the profession.

However, the PPTA is unconvinced, saying teacher supply problems could worsen as a result.

Requiring all future teachers to get a post-graduate qualification would raise the bar for entry into the profession, and would likely be most keenly felt at the primary and ECE level.

The potential change has been debated before, but any endorsement from the Education Council would be significant, given its role as the professional organisation advocating on behalf of teachers.

Currently, secondary teachers generally have a degree in the subject they teach and a graduate diploma in teaching, with more primary teachers having degrees in education.

Dr Graham Stoop, chief executive of the Education Council, revealed the proposed change today, telling Parliament's education committee that the council was forming a view that all teacher training in the future should be at a post-graduate level.

"This goes back to the core purpose of the Education Council - to raise the status of the profession," Stoop said.

"Every teacher in the country would have a bachelor degree in arts or science or commerce, law, whatever it happens to be. That would give us the content knowledge that we want them to have. Then there would be, let's say a level 8 post-graduate teacher education programme on top of that.

"That is a position that the council has thoughtfully adopted with the initial teacher education providers. And it is likely, within the next month or two once the governing council has made its final decisions on these matters, that we will be going out to the sector for full and wider consultation."

Stoop said the post-graduate teacher training course would likely be over three or four semesters. Currently, the graduate diploma in teaching studied by many teachers is at level 7. The proposed changes would increase this to level 8, a post-graduate level.

Any changes would be dependent on feedback and would be phased in over time, with the potential for ECE and Maori Medium sectors to have longer lead-in times.

PPTA president Jack Boyle said raising the level of qualification without making teaching more desirable in other ways would not raise the status of the profession.

"It's just going to make it much more difficult to recruit teachers."

Another potential problem was the fact a student allowance is not currently available to people studying post-graduate qualifications, he said.

"The major reason for teacher shortages is teaching is just not desirable compared with the other opportunities available for people with good degrees, especially in areas like science, maths and technology.

"The pay is nowhere near enough to compensate for the huge workloads and the daily stresses of managing today's teenagers. And the Education Council seems to think raising the level of qualification will raise the status of teaching, but it will take a lot more than that."

Moving teacher qualifications to the post-graduate level was proposed in a 2012 report by the Education Workforce Advisory Group, and the Government has since funded pilot courses at universities.

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