4 May 2016

Lift teacher qualifications, say universities

11:22 am on 4 May 2016

The heads of teacher training programmes at universities are calling on the government to require postgraduate qualifications for all new teachers.

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The proposal from deans of education is for all teachers to have at least a Bachelors degree and a postgraduate teaching qualification.

At present, secondary teachers generally have a degree in the subject they teach and a graduate diploma in teaching, while primary teachers have degrees in education.

The chair of the New Zealand Council of Deans of Education, Roger Moltzen, told Nine to Noon the change would raise the bar for entry to both primary and secondary school teaching.

The government said in 2012 it would move to postgraduate entry to teaching, but since then has only funded pilot courses at universities.

Professor Moltzen said this was a good time to move to postgraduate qualifications because there was a surplus of new teachers.

"It is an opportunity to introduce a higher level of qualification without running the risk we'd run into a teacher shortage."

He said requiring a postgraduate qualification would raise the standard of teachers and the status of the teaching profession.

Professor Moltzen said there was no doubt students in teacher training programmes had lower academic scores than those in other degree courses. However, he said teachers required other qualities in addition to academic ability.

He said the biggest impact of the proposed changes would be in primary schools.

Professor Moltzen said the government also needed to consider whether there should be more opportunity for primary school teachers to specialise in maths and science during their training.