A move by the education sector to lift the status of teaching appears to be a logical approach to addressing stalling achievement levels at primary schools.

Education leaders from seven New Zealand universities have written a joint letter to the Government recommending the move, in a bid to get the "best and brightest" graduates into classrooms.

It's a response to a series of alarming trends affecting the sector.

These include figures showing students accepted into teaching degrees have some of the lowest entrance scores across all bachelor programmes; the number of entrants into teaching dropping by 25 per cent in five years and a recent survey of prospective teachers showing many considered the career a "Plan B".


Most parents will be alarmed about the potential impact these trends could have on the quality of education in the future.

They will also be concerned to learn that possibly the only reason their child's teacher has chosen the profession is because "Plan A" hasn't worked out.

I recall having teachers who fell into that category but it's those who inspired their students to achieve that left a lasting impression. They were passionate about their subjects, encouraged participation and celebrated success. The enthusiasm they showed in the classroom was usually rewarded with favourable pass rates at the end-of-year exams.

Teaching is like any job.

Some, driven by a need to pass on knowledge, strive for excellence while others are content to go through the motions.

We need to value good teachers and recognise the crucial role they play in our society.

The proposals put forward by the New Zealand Council of Deans of Education include requiring a postgraduate qualification before registration, and raising entry requirements to teaching courses.

It's a sensible move.

Lifting the status of the profession and improving the capability of teachers is a logical first step in the battle to lift student achievement.