No student support for compulsory tertiary teacher qualifications

Posted By TEU on Mar 17, 2016 | 4 comments

Students want lecturers and tutors who are enthusiastic, knowledgeable and approachable but they don’t necessarily need to hold a teaching qualification according to NZUSA’s executive director, Dr Alistair Shaw.

One of the issues the Productivity Commission’s issues paper asks people to consider is how to measure teaching effectiveness (pp. 17-19).

The commission notes that 10 out of 12 surveyed polytechnics[1] and around half of 131 surveyed private tertiary education companies require teachers to gain a teaching qualification within 2 or 3 years of full-time appointment, but that no university had such a requirement.  Forty percent of PTEs require a teaching qualification for appointment to a full-time teaching role, but no ITP or university had such a requirement.

Shaw says NZUSA has surveyed students about their views on what they want from lecturers and whether there should be a requirement to have specific teaching qualifications.

NZUSA’s survey shows students want teachers to have access to an ongoing process of professional development rather than pre-employment qualifications.

Students in the survey identified that they want lecturers who know how to use the basics of technology such as powerpoint, and to have knowledge on how to teach in big lecture theatres full of students, and how to get engagement in both small and large settings.

They wanted more support and mentoring for new tertiary teachers from tertiary teachers who are experienced and recognised as having good practice.

“However none of this means that students believe tertiary teachers need to have a specific qualification,” says Shaw.

“Almost all who commented specifically on this rejected it – but they (teachers) need to have access to an ongoing process of professional development.”

Shaw says even stronger than this support for professional development was a desire from students for tertiary teachers who were enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and approachable.


  1. TEU has agreed to these qualifications in polytechnics as part of progression and promotions.
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