NZ Schools Cancel Classes Due To Lack Of ‘Qualified’ Teachers

A number of times on this blog we’ve highlighted the plight of skilled people who have been allowed emigrate to New Zealand to fill jobs that are on skills shortages lists but have been been unable to find work.

Now we’re hearing of school classes being cancelled due to a lack of teachers and, as a last resort, students being drafted in to take classes. This from Michelle Sutton in the Sunday Star Times:

“High school principals are being forced to cancel classes and hire unqualified teachers, as they grapple with a teaching shortage that unions say will worsen as the economy improves.

Principals at state schools say the lack of good applicants for advertised posts is affecting the quality of teaching. Many job applications are sub-standard, including many from foreign teachers with inappropriate training, poor English, or little understanding of New Zealand’s NCEA qualification system.

Some schools report having to cancel classes or shunt students into correspondence courses where they have little or no contact time with a real teacher.

In two extreme cases this year, the Post Primary Teachers Association (PPTA) says it became aware that two North Island schools were using senior high school students or old boys to relieve classes, because they were unable to find any relief teachers while advertising for permanent staff.

PPTA president Kate Gainsford said while rare, this showed the desperate measures schools were forced to take because the shortage was so critical.

Principals say the situation is about to get worse as the country heads out of a recession and unemployment falls, because in a buoyant job market when there are fewer concerns about job security, more teachers will be lured to other careers by better pay or conditions…

21 percent of schools (which would mean 90 nationwide) had hired untrained or unqualified relievers, and one in five schools said there had been occasions when they had either one or zero applicants for an advertised post.

Principals told the researchers that while two out of five job applications were filed from abroad, just one in five of those applicants were considered suitable for the post. And applications from New Zealanders often fell short: four out of 10 were also considered inappropriate.

Secondary Principals Council chair Julia Davidson said the most concerning aspect of foreign applicants was that some were unable to speak English fluently.

Many also lacked understanding of New Zealand’s curriculum and qualifications such as NCEA, which was like no other system in the world, and in some cases they required constant supervision. Often these teachers demanded respect rather than earning it, she said, leading to confrontation in the classroom.”

It’s crazy, we know of qualified British and American teachers who are unable to find work.

Their qualifications and experience satisfied the immigration dept but not a NZ education system that can’t even find relief teachers.

If the NZ curriculum is so ‘unique’ that no teacher from anywhere in the world is able to teach it isn’t there something wrong with the NCEA, should the government admit it’s a failure and introduce something that’s recognised internationally?

And talking of international education, how is this admission that the NZ school system is understaffed and propped up by unqualified relievers going to appear to International Students and their families, who pour $2 billion into the NZ economy every year? What return are they seeing on their investment? (see International students only seen as cash cows)

We suspect that the real story here is that either some of these schools simply can’t afford to pay teachers, or they have an aversion to employing foreigners.

The latter may be borne out by the fact that teaching qualifications from  other developed countries aren’t recognised in New Zealand.

Here are a few examples of well qualified migrants who have not been able to find work in their professions in New Zealand, taken from our Migrants’ Stories pages. Click on the links to read the full story:

UK Qualifications not recognised – A fully qualified and experienced early childcare educator simply can’t get work. She was told “We don’t like poms in our organisation, in fact we can’t stand them, if I was you I would find work elsewhere

Teacher duped by the hype, couldn’t find work – A fully qualified American teacher believed that New Zealand has a skills shortage and that people in her profession are needed there. Unfortunately she found out, after considerable expense to herself, she wasn’t needed at all and that there wasn’t a job for her. “I applied to so many schools but none except for one did not even bother shortlisting me, immigration has played games with me, and my savings from the states have been depleted

We chose to go with New Zealand, BIG MISTAKE“I am a Registered Nurse in Canada, Israel, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma & Texas, Hubby is a licensed Civil Engineer (PE) in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Missouri, Oklahoma & Kansas. He is also a secondary teacher with a specialty in Math & upper sciences in the state of Missouri and has his teaching credentials assessed at Level 7 certificate for New Zealand.”  Neither of them were able to get work in their chosen professions in New Zealand.

Skilled migrants drive taxis to survive – “It is on Auckland’s taxi ranks where the horrible waste of talent is brought into sharp focus. Checking at Auckland’s airport seven drivers – all Indians – were a radiographer, two engineers, an electrical engineer, an accountant, a teacher and a blood analyst chemist.” excerpt from a NZ Herald report

University lecturer misled over job offer – “I came here only in February for a post as a lecturer at uni. Found out early, much I was told at interview was not true (no time for research, cuts in funding, I would have to fund most, if not all, of overseas conferences). Also, that my husband, a mid-level project manager would easily find a job with his graduate degree and +10 years experience in marketing..” He couldn’t. He ended up doing volunteer work, this couple is now leaving New Zealand

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6 thoughts on “NZ Schools Cancel Classes Due To Lack Of ‘Qualified’ Teachers

  1. The Kiwis are atrocious at foreign languages. I have never met a single Kiwi except for two whose parents were Dutch and Greek that actually was able to learn a foreign language. I know one that claims to speak Spanish, but I have never seen him hold a conversation in this language.

    The teachers I met in New Zealand were just as ignorant as their fellow Retardicons. Their Weltanschauung was 100% Pure Retardicon New Zealand. They had no curiosity about anything relating to other places, but they were convinced that the New Zealand education system was superb. One wonders how people could be so deluded.

    • And if you do speak a foreign language around them (even another dialect of English), most will glare at you and make noises of disapproval and hostility, like slamming desk drawers, dropping staplers, making loud, rude comments to other kiwi coworkers, even bumping into your chair. And these are well-paid self-declared professionals (frequently post-menopausal, unhappy women [sorry if that offends anyone]) – people who work in organizations whose official mission it is to encourage diversity and protect the rights of all people. When first I noticed how much it made the kiwis feel inferior, I would derive great satisfaction from that 🙂 and would conduct lengthy telephone calls in a foreign language while smiling from my desk whenever possible, while counting how many would leave to go to the break room and complain loudly about my behavior.

      • I would feel just as frustrated as these Kiwi women if I could only speak one language 🙂 I can speak four languages: Dutch, English, German and French, och jag talar bara lite Svenska 🙂 and still my mono lingual NZ mother in law had to correct me in how I pronounce the word Maori, she said it should be pronounced as in “moldy” (always knew there was a connection between these two words 🙂 I explained to her that the Dutch encountered with the Maori about 150 years earlier than the British and that’s how the Dutch call them 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • That’s probably a wise decision, seeing that I know a dux who claims to have 10 years of German speaking experience.
      She was at university for 3…

  2. This is true, my children don’t get German language classes anymore, because the teacher retired. No teacher, no classes.

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