Thursday, September 15, 2022

Point of Order: Govt gets a “fail” mark in Education

But (with another $24 million of our money) ministers pledge they will try to do better

Yet another failure of the Ardern government, this time in education, has surfaced, with ministers earmarking another $24 million in an effort to recruit more teachers and provide “extra support” for young people whose learning has been disrupted by Covid-19.

Earlier the government lowered the bar for NCEA achievement in schools for the third year running.

Critics at that time said lowering the bar is a natural response if you want to paper over the cracks rather than fix the actual problem, which is a combination of low school attendance,and acres of missed learning as a result.

In the words of one of these critics,

“Rather than the inconvenience of mobilising a full-court press to help those who have been missing out,we are to maintain a facade that these students have been as well educated as those from pre-Covid years”.

Other countries have spent big money on catch-up learning, arranging extra days of schooling, or vouchers for private tuition to help students learn what they need to learn before they leave school.

Then there has been the disaster of the polytechnics, where the Ardern government’s move to centralise the administration has virtually wrecked the system, piling up deficits at the same time as rolls have fallen.

But none of this can be detected in the latest statement from Ministers Chris Hipkins and Jan Tinetti.

Point of Order produces the statement in full, to enable our readers to appreciate the irony.

Government investing in 1000 more teachers and student learning affected by COVID-19

* Hundreds more overseas and domestic teachers to fill workforce gaps

* Funding for additional teaching and tutoring in schools

* More targeted Māori and Pacific tutoring and mentoring

* Additional places on Te Kura’s summer school

The Government is continuing to invest in teachers and students, through a multi-million dollar package to boost teacher supply and provide extra support for young people whose learning has been disrupted by COVID-19, Associate Education Minister Jan Tinetti announced today.

“Teacher supply has long been a priority for us. Ensuring we have more teachers is vital to ensure our kids are getting the education they need. There is high international demand for teachers and New Zealand trained teachers are also well received internationally,” Jan Tinetti said.

“This Government has invested heavily in teacher supply initiatives both here in Aotearoa New Zealand, and through recruiting overseas. By investing a further $24m in these initiatives, we plan to deliver close to 1,000 additional teachers – we expect to recruit approximately 700 internationally and 300 domestically.

“Overseas trained teachers have always been a valued part of the workforce; they bring diversity and rich experience to our communities. It’s also the quickest way to get experienced teachers into schools, so we’ll bring in hundreds more through this package.

“But the long-term goal is to improve the supply of domestic teachers, so we can meet demand when needed. So we are increasing the number of teachers who can train while they are placed in schools, putting more incentives in place to get beginning and returning teachers into hard-to-staff roles and expanding our successful ‘career changer’ scholarships, which are designed to encourage and enable mid-career professionals with valuable life experience to become teachers,” Jan Tinetti said.

“As well as increasing teacher supply, we are also ensuring our young people, whose learning has been disrupted by COVID-19, won’t fall behind,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said.

“We know that young people have missed some crucial time in the classroom throughout the last two and a half years and we need to address the impact of that head-on.

“So we are putting $20 million towards additional teaching and tutoring services. This will include exam preparation, workshops, tutorials and homework, and one-on-one mentoring. We know that schools are best placed to make the best decisions to target the funding where it is needed most,” Chris Hipkins said.

Of this, over $2 million will support programmes designed specifically for Māori and Pacific students, while $17.4 million will help year 7-13 students in schools with greater proportions of young people facing socio-economic challenges to educational achievement, which have been exacerbated by COVID-19.

“The Ministry of Education will expand existing community-led programmes across the motu that can target the specific needs of Māori and Pacific NCEA learners in their community,” Jan Tinetti said.

“Altogether, these community-led programmes will be able to help at least 2,245 year 11 to 13 Māori and Pacific learners get extra practical NCEA help during Term 4 this year.

“The Equity Index will be used to weight the rest of the funding, and schools will decide which students are offered the service, drawing on their knowledge of their own learners. The Ministry will also directly purchase additional tutoring and teaching for non-enrolled or at-risk students, to help support them to re-engage with schooling.

“In addition, 500 more Te Kura dual tuition summer school places are being added. This gives students in Years 11 and 12 more time to study over the 2022–2023 summer term to gain those all-important credits.

“The Government has confidence that through addressing teacher supply issues and improving students’ outcomes through additional learning resources, we will be able to address some of the inequities that have been made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are committed to ensuring all our tamariki receive the supports they need to overcome obstacles in their learning,” Jan Tinetti said.

These notes were added to the press statement:

To boost overseas teacher supply we are:
* Extending two grants – the Overseas Relocation Grant and Overseas Finders Fee – that compensate teachers and employers for the additional costs of immigrating or hiring abroad
* Funding additional roles – in the New Zealand Qualifications Authority, Teaching Council and Education Payroll Limited – to speed up processing times for overseas teacher assessments. Funding is also being provided to the New Zealand Qualifications Authority, so International Qualification Assessment Fees for migrant teachers can be waived.

To boost domestic teacher supply we are:
* Increasing the number of Te Huawhiti | Career Changer Scholarships available, to support people to move into teaching
* Funding 100 places in school-embedded Initial Teacher Education schemes that allow trainee teachers to be trained in schools while studying remotely
* Expanding the Beginning Teacher Vacancy Scheme (BTVS) that connects beginning and returning teachers to teaching positions in schools with high need 
and incentivises them to stay in the role:

Point of Order is a blog focused on politics and the economy run by veteran newspaper reporters Bob Edlin and Ian Templeton


Robert Arthur said...

Education has certainly failed. Correlates with mounting obsession with matters maori. Syllabus and teaching has been adapted to obscure low achievement of maori and other polynesian groups. Prospective able, energetic, objective teachers are put off by the thought of the time wasting tedium of having to wallow in maoritanga for their lifetime.
Of course imports bring a fresh approach; they are free of the maori encumberance. How they get past the Teaching Council is a mystery. Without the stultifying Council teachers and teaching could really advance.
Should revert to the very successful methods of the 1920s. Straightforward syllabuses and textbooks. Fact based teaching not demanding selective story telling as the new history syllabus. Quiet classes. No maori twaddle. Students not automatically advanced but failed to their level. Real discipline, with painful enforcement. Teachers had easy to manage matched ability classes. A basic exam for entry to secondary school (and to assist employers). The link between effort and progress readied them for employment in the real world, not just for life in a State house on the dole with assorted benefit levers (children). Only the pathologically dim witted left school unable to manage the basics of the3 Rs

Anonymous said...

this double-speak about teacher shortage gets me on my nerves. i know a foreign teacher who has a 'permanent' job that was offered earlier this year in a primary school. when she had to renew her work visa, INZ tells the principal that the current permanent position is null and void & they have to go thru the accreditation & job check. so the job has to be advertised again - knowing very well that no one is going to apply!