My EDUCANZ submission… Almost too late but done nevertheless

Here is my submission to the Education and Science select committee about the proposed EDUCANZ Bill

To the Education and Science Select Committee

I am making a submission opposing the changes to the Education Amendment Bill No.2, in particular the sections establishing EDUCANZ and changing the teacher registration framework.

I submit that:

The lack of teacher representation (Section 380 and Schedule 22) is of concern. I am deeply perturbed by the fact that there will be no elected teacher positions on the new Council, unlike the current system we have, and by the loss of positions reserved for people nominated by the teacher unions. Currently, the teacher council has at least 5 registered members, whereas the new proposed council does not stipulate this requirement.

As a practising teacher, I cannot fathom why I would pay for this body to exist but have no direct voice in electing representatives who may have a greater understanding of the teaching profession. Under the proposed Bill, the Minister has the power to appoint to the council. It is concerning that these positions do not include a minimum requirement of people with experience in the profession. As this body will enforce the teaching profession, it is imperative that we have fair, valid and balanced representation – this must include industry professionals who have been voted in my the professional body.

Another area of concern is the role that the Council will take (Section 382). The proposed Bill states that the Council is expected to provide leadership to teachers and direction for the education profession; as it currently reads, this is very ambiguous what this would look like. As a teacher in New Zealand, my understanding is that this is part of the function of the Ministry of Education, who tend to make decisions based on best practice and research. A professional body, who may not have any representation from the profession itself should not be leading the direction for education in New Zealand. The proposed Bill also suggests that the EDUCANZ Council will play a significant role in fostering the development of the profession. I cannot see how this could be relevant if there is no requirement for a practising, registered teacher to be involved in the Council.

Teaching is a difficult job but is a job that I love dearly. It is imperative that we raise the profile of teaching in New Zealand and that government agencies find ways to support teachers in the profession. I am concerned that the proposed EDUCANZ Bill moves away from the high-trust model that we currently have with the Teachers’ Council to a low trust model (Section 382). For me, the proposed move to auditing and moderating practising certificates seems more like accountability rather than fostering and developing the profession. The costs of doing so will inevitably be passed onto teachers, who will already be funding the Council through their registration. To moderate 10% of evidence towards practising certificates will be time consuming and there is no guarantee that those who are auditing have sufficient understanding and experience in the profession to make valid, fair and consistent judgements.

Thank you for considering my submission, and I would like to speak to the Select Committee about my submission.

Megan Peterson

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