More than 1300 teachers have been recruited in New Zealand in 18 months amid a “global shortage” of teachers, the education minister says.
Jan Tinetti made the comment at the New Zealand Area Schools Conference at the Novotel Rotorua Lakeside today.
Tinetti said it had been “an incredibly difficult time” to attract teachers into positions, particularly in area schools and for subject specialties.
However, the former Merivale School principal said government investments were making “a real measurable difference”.
“Teachers are choosing New Zealand as a place to teach and call home.”
Tinetti said she announced a $24 million package last September to recruit 1000 new teachers into schools and early learning services.
That number had been exceeded sooner than expected, she said.
Tinetti said more than 1300 teachers had been recruited - including 301 domestic teachers “that we have secured to train and teach across New Zealand”.
Between January 2022 and July 2023, Tinetti said 1055 teachers had arrived in New Zealand on work and resident visas.
Tinetti said attracting qualified and experienced overseas teachers “is the fastest way to boost our numbers”.
“But we need to be focused on improving the availability of our domestic teachers to meet the demand and I want to see that pipeline continue through.”
Tinetti said she understood it did not solve “all the teaching and recruitment problems”.
“And that’s why we’re going to continue to invest in programmes such as the voluntary bonding scheme which encourages newly graduated teachers to teach in certain areas of need.”
Tinetti said teaching was “an amazing profession” she wanted young people to consider.
She said a “global shortage” of teachers had been well-documented.
Tinetti attended an international summit on teaching in Washington in April with about 25 OECD countries.
“And every single one of them had this massive challenge around staffing shortages and we’re all trying to compete with each other in the same market to get those teachers to come to our jurisdictions.”
Tinetti also announced today a new tertiary fund to help remove barriers and improve opportunities for students.
In a statement, she said the Government was reprioritising $10 million for Tūwhitia - a new fund that would co-invest with tertiary institutions to improve passing rates, participation and overall learning.
“Successfully gaining a tertiary qualification – be it through an apprenticeship, a diploma, or a degree – improves lifelong outcomes for individuals, whānau, communities and for the whole country,” Tinetti said in the statement.
“Yet some groups of students are statistically less likely to succeed in tertiary education, namely Māori, Pacific, disabled, people from lower socio-economic backgrounds and people who are the first in their family to attend tertiary education.”
Tinetti said there was “very little monitoring of attendance in class” or of their individual achievement when a student started tertiary education.
“This fund will help improve data collection and information gathering – which some tertiary providers already do – so that these students are picked up and supported before they’re at risk of dropping out.”
The fund would also support tertiary institutions to take “proactive action” with students to address the barriers stopping them from succeeding.
This included new programmes targeting secondary students from low decile schools to tertiary education, working with iwi, schools and community groups and improving student support services.
Tinetti also visited Rotorua Girls’ High School this morning to discuss free period products with students and went to Rotorua Boys’ High School to meet with students receiving healthy school lunches.
Megan Wilson is a health and general news reporter for the Bay of Plenty Times and Rotorua Daily Post. She has been a journalist since 2021.