Teachers want a voice on new education council

Last updated 07:31 20/05/2014

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Canterbury teachers are worried that a proposal to scrap the Teachers Council and establish a new body will undermine them.

A select committee heard submissions about the Government's Education Amendment Bill (No 2) in Christchurch yesterday.

The bill will scrap the New Zealand Teachers Council and replace it with the Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand but there will be no guaranteed positions on it for teachers.

The nine-member council will have at least five members and a chairperson appointed by the education minister.

Christchurch Boys' High School history teacher Hugh Dacre, who has more than 35 years' teaching experience, told the select committee yesterday he was worried about the lack of democratically elected members for the proposed council.

"It's no longer a teachers' council, which says to me the teachers' part is less important," he said.

"I'd really like it if they thought about making it better, rather than starting from scratch again."

He did not expect all council members to be elected but wanted the majority of them to be teachers - in a similar way to the Medical Council of New Zealand's majority being doctors.

"I think the thing that has upset me most is the undemocratic nature of this."

Dacre said it felt as if teachers were being treated as "second- class professionals".

The Teachers Council has a body of 11 people with one member nominated by the New Zealand Educational Institute, the Post Primary Teachers Association and the New Zealand School Trustees Association.

The minister of education appoints four members, including the chair.

Registered teachers elect four members, one from each of the following sectors - early childhood, primary, secondary and principals.

Shirley Boys' High School teacher Lorraine Pacey told the committee that the proposed legislation would undermine the teaching profession.

She said the proposal meant there might not be any practising teachers on the new council.

"You can't know what is going on if you are not practising."

Pacey said the proposal to have the majority of the new body appointed was unacceptable and in the words of teenage boys she taught, "this sucks".

"I think the fact there is no provision for someone like me to be appointed is inadequate."

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- The Press

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