More teachers needed

By Staff reporter

New Zealand will soon face a teacher shortage as school roll numbers skyrocket.

That's the view of a Waikato University academic in response to latest figures from the Ministry of Education.

The data shows the number of primary school students will increase steadily until 2019, by which time there will be 44,500 more students than in 2011.

Faculty of Education dean Professor Roger Moltzen said future teachers should feel encouraged as the figures showed teaching jobs will be in demand.

"We anticipate that New Zealand could actually be facing a teacher shortage in the next few years because of the staffing required to cope with the student increase,'' Prof Moltzen said.

"School rolls are already increasing so there is no better time to enrol in a quality teacher education programme. Students who begin their studies in 2013 are likely to face excellent job prospects by the time they graduate at the end of 2015.''

He said at the beginning of 2016, approximately 1150 additional primary teachers will be needed around the country to cope with the increased enrolments, based on an average class size of 27 students.

And as students move through the school system, the crunch time for secondary teachers is expected around 2019 when enrolments begin to escalate steadily and reach a peak in 2024, up 22,000 students on 2011 secondary enrolments, he said.

He said Ministry figures showed New Zealand was at the end of a downward trend of falling school rolls, which has meant many teaching graduates have struggled to find work in recent years.

"However a gradual increase in birth rates since 2004, and particularly from 2007, means the country will see large cohorts begin entering primary school over the next few years,'' he said.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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