5 Oct 2018

Global teacher shortage could impact NZ overseas recruitment

9:01 am on 5 October 2018

The government is trying to recruit overseas teachers in the midst of a global teacher shortage, a report shows.

Students at Pacific Advance Secondary School. Note only use identifying pictures for stories about PASS - only non-identifiying pictures may be reused.

Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

The report was done by Education International, the global federation of teacher unions. The Global Status of Teachers and the Teaching Profession said there was a significant teacher shortage, especially among secondary school teachers.

"While, oversupply exists in several countries, most nations experience a shortage of teachers," the report said.

It said more than 75 percent of its 140 member unions reported shortages of secondary teachers, 70 percent said their country had a shortage of primary school teachers, and about 80 percent said there was a shortage of early childhood teachers.

The government is trying to attract 400 teachers, including former New Zealand teachers, from other countries for the start of next year.

Overseas recruitment had traditionally focused on the United Kingdom, but the Education International report said the UK also had a severe secondary teacher shortage, especially among maths and science teachers.

Published on World Teachers' Day, 5 October, the report said New Zealand's teacher unions had reported a severe shortage of maths and science teachers.

The report said 69 percent of its member unions said teaching was not an attractive profession for young people in their country

It said members reported that teachers had a higher status than nurses or police, but lower status than engineers or doctors.

The report comes as primary school teachers and principals and secondary teachers are considering strike action in support of their pay claims.

Both the Educational Institute and the Post Primary Teachers' Association (PPTA) have argued that big pay rises are needed to attract more people to teaching.

Meanwhile, Auckland principals said the Ministry of Education had told them 650 new teachers would be required next year, and PPTA president Jack Boyle said 700 teachers would be needed.

The ministry said it had developed a new tool to help assess future demand for teachers and would soon publish estimates for 2019.

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