Who is to Be Deemed a ‘Qualified’ Early Childhood Teacher in Regulation

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The Government in its Action Plan set an objective to regulate for 80% qualified teachers in teacher-led centres. The Ministry of Education is required to action this objective and set a target date/s for achieving this. 

Discussions suggest the Ministry’s advice to the Minister on regulating for 80% qualified teachers could be to recommend that 80% regulated staff at least include:

  • persons who have completed part of a teaching degree (not completed the final year of study);
  • persons with lower level of qualification (for example a Level 5 Diploma in ECE) and persons who whose skills are recognised for working within a particular setting e.g. a centre for Pacific children; and
  • non-ECE trained certificated teachers.

We hope that the Ministry pulls back from such thinking and does continue to work to dilute the value of ECE teacher training and certification as its solution to address the teacher shortage that it’s policy recommendations to government has created.

We hope that it is not its intention to support centres to employ more staff who are not eligible for pay parity; thereby reducing the cost to government of funding pay parity for certificated teachers in ECE.

What happened in the past that now affects the present

In 2007 a government target of 50% regulated staff, ECE qualified and registered teachers, was reported by the Minister of Education to be met.

A second target of 80% ECE fully qualified and registered teachers was set to be met by 2010.

Around the same time however, the Ministry advised government that the best way to cut spending on ECE would be to temporarily discontinue salary component adjustments for all education and care centres to compete fairly with Kindergarten Associations on teacher salaries. (But we still have the situation today of two different funding rate tables for education and care centres – one for kindergartens and one for all other teacher-led centres).  And the target date for 80% was pushed out to 2012.

Then nothing happened to put 80% into regulation and the Ministry allowed the gains in building a highly qualified ECE workforce with teachers able to attract salaries as high as kindergarten and school teachers, to begin to slip away.

Did You Know?

An amendment to the Education and Training Act if accepted by Government will give the Ministry of Education the power to bypass the role, functions, and powers of the Teaching Council in setting the standards for teaching qualifications and to recognise alternative qualifications in our ECE sector.

The Education and Training Amendment Bill No. 2, Clause 58 seeks to effect the following change.  In section 636(2)(h), after “regulate”, insert “including by authorising the Secretary to issue a notice recognising a qualification”.

The wording of this amendment is not limited to non-teaching qualifications.  The explanatory note to the Bill states that it includes those “working as educators” within a centre.

The closing date for submissions is midnight Friday, 18 February 2022.

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