On today of all days, it should not escape everyone’s notice that at the same time teachers are standing together for an education system that values and attracts new and incredible people to teach our kids, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Auckland, Stuart McCutcheon is cutting the jobs of the very people we need to train them.People across New Zealand are rightly calling on the Education Minister Chris Hipkins to increase the number of teachers – and to ensure their pay and conditions reflect the remarkable difference they make to Kiwi kids’ lives. And yet, whilst this fantastic collective effort to change our country for the better is taking place, in an office in Auckland Stuart McCutcheon is preparing to tell some of our most dedicated and valued teacher educators that they no longer have a job. Back in May, McCutcheon proposed to cut 23.4 full-time equivalent jobs from the university’s Faculty of Education and Social Work. This week he is expected to tell people working in the Faculty whether they have lost their jobs or not.Stuart McCutcheon should be watching the thousands of people standing together and be inspired to do what he can to help Chris Hipkins address New Zealand’s chronic teacher shortage, the Tertiary Education Union (TEU) said. Instead he is focused on meeting narrow performance metrics that bearno relation to the reality of what needs to be done to get more teachers into the classroom. McCutcheon’s teacher training cuts are also coming soon after the University of Auckland posted a budget surplus of nearly $70 million - evidence that we can afford to train more teachers so that every child receives the education they need to thrive.Sandra Grey, national president of the TEU, said:
“Stuart McCutcheon needs to take responsibility for making it harder for this Government to address the chronic shortage of teachers we face. We stand with every one of our teacher colleagues and thank them for going to extraordinary lengths to make sure our kids get the best possible start to their learning journey.
"As teachers come together today to look for answers to what can be done to attract more people into the profession, decent pay and conditions that reflect the remarkable commitment they have to their jobs is of course one. But so too is making sure we are doing everything we can to train the teachers we need.
"It defies understanding that Stuart McCutcheon is making this harder than it needs to be. It is time he threw out the narrow performance metrics he is using to justify cutting teacher training jobs, and start thinking about what he can do to ensure more people enter the classroom with the skills and knowledge they need to help Kiwi kids thrive. He needs to do it for the good of our kids, for good of the whole teaching profession, and for the good of country."