The Government has allocated $44 million to recruit 1000 new teachers and to support students whose learning has been disrupted by Covid.
Associate Minister of Education Jan Tinetti said $24 million would go towards recruiting close to 1000 additional teachers, expected to include 700 international and 300 domestic teachers.
Meanwhile, $20m will go towards additional teaching and tutoring services for students after more than two years of Covid disruptions, including examination preparation, workshops and one-on-one mentoring.
Education unions said the funding and initiatives were welcomed but did not go far enough.
Tinetti said ensuring Aotearoa had more teachers was vital. The long-term goal was to improve the supply of domestic teachers, however, the quickest way to get experienced teachers into schools was by recruiting teachers trained overseas.
"Overseas trained teachers have always been a valued part of the workforce; they bring diversity and rich experience to our communities."
Tinetti said the Government would increase the number of teachers who could train while they were placed in schools, putting more incentives in place to get beginning and returning teachers into hard-to-staff roles and expanding its "career changer" scholarship.
Education Minister Chris Hipkins said young people had missed crucial time in the classroom in the past two and a half years and the impact needed to be addressed head-on.
Of the $20m allocated to supporting students, $2m would go towards support programmes designed specifically for Māori and Pacific students and $17.4m to schools where greater proportions of students faced socio-economic challenges.
New Zealand Post Primary Teachers' Association Te Wehengarua president Melanie Webber said more funding to help students re-engage with learning was "absolutely the right thing to do".
However, schools desperately needed more professional guidance counsellors to build relationships with at-risk ākonga (students) and their families before these young people disengage.
"We need ambulances at the top of the cliff."
Webber said aiming to hire more than 700 teachers from overseas "in an extremely competitive international market" seemed optimistic.
"While overseas teachers do bring diversity and rich experience, they do not have any background in the National Certificate of Educational Achievement, or Te Reo and Te Ao Māori.
"So it is not an ideal solution by any means."
Webber said there were thousands of highly qualified, trained and experienced teachers right here in communities throughout Aotearoa who would come back tomorrow if they were better paid and their workloads were manageable.
"That would be the soundest investment the Government could make."
NZEI Te Riu Roa president Liam Rutherford said a comprehensive plan to significantly grow the workforce was needed to reduce class sizes and get better student-to-teacher ratios.
The Equity Index would be used to weight the rest of the funding announced today.
Schools would decide which students were offered the service, drawing on their knowledge of their own learners.
In addition, 500 more Te Kura dual tuition summer school places were being added, Tinetti said.
This would give Year 11 and 12 students more time to study over the 2022–2023 summer term to gain credits.