The minister of education Hekia Parata is promising a shakeup of the New Zealand Teachers Council, which would also affect initial teacher education providers, following the release of an independent review of the council last week.
The Teachers Council regulates over 100,000 registered teachers across schools and early childhood education. The review found the council lacked a visible professional leadership voice among teachers and needed more independence from the minister. It recommended a new body be established by 2015 with a more public voice and leadership for the profession.
Importantly for tertiary education providers the review supported a move to postgraduate entry to the teaching profession, based on a single set of teaching standards.
The review recommends that the council control entry into the teaching profession by evaluating trainees’ achievements against standards rather than by the current process of approving programmes.
TEU opposed this proposal last year noting that the council’s current insistence that initial teacher education programmes retain the practicum component of their curriculum, despite some pressure from universities in particular to reduce this provision, has meant that practicum has remained. The council has also used its programme approval powers to require that all staff responsible for visiting students on practicum be registered teachers. TEU argued that the council’s use of its power to approve initial teacher education programmes has ensured that the quality and integrity of qualifications has been maintained, because providers have been required to retain practitioner experience and knowledge by (in this instance) increasing the requirements for practicum visiting.
This minister has now appointed a Ministerial Advisory Group to lead consultation on all the review recommendations. Consultation will finish in July this year. The minister hopes to pass the necessary laws to effect any changes by June next year.