Potentially ''incredible'' teachers could be put off
taking up the profession because of the University of Otago's
decision to cut teacher training programmes, students say.
This comment came after students and staff were informed the
College of Education was cutting two of its programmes next
year, including its one-year graduate diploma, in which 96
students had enrolled this year.
Two class representatives from the one-year graduate diploma,
Shannon Williams and Siale Tunoka, both feared cutting their
course would result in a less diverse range of teachers.
''In reality, the ones who are going to miss out are the
kids,'' Mr Williams said.
The one-year course was perfect for mature students, some of
whom would not be able to make it into the master's
programme, which requires a B-plus average in the student's
final year of study.
''You look at our class, we are really diverse - we have got
people from the arts, sciences, from all over.''
''Many of us have studied, then gone out to the workplace,
and then decided that what we want to do is teaching.''
Mr Tunoka felt bad for the programme's staff, who now faced
the prospect of losing their jobs.
''It feels like from our time here ... that this is like
their baby. They have seen it through to what it is,'' he
The pair were keen to point out that many students who were
offered places in the master's programme - themselves
included - had chosen to take the diploma because of its good
reputation. Otago Secondary Principals' Association secretary
Gordon Wilson said the association did not know all of the
details yet, and he was cautious with his response.
However, even at this stage there were some obvious concerns.
While ''axing'' the courses effectively raised the
entry-level requirement, and would bring teachers into the
profession with a higher academic capability, ''there is a
risk in cutting some of the other programmes, that some very
good people who could move into teaching may miss out because
programmes for them may not be available locally.''
Otago Primary Principals' Association chairwoman Stephanie
Madden agreed. She said people came into teaching from a wide
range of backgrounds and experiences, and at different times
in their lives.
''Schools value this diversity. It is vital that initial
teacher education programmes offer multiple pathways into the
Mr Wilson also hoped the course cuts would not result in a
decrease in the number of trainees.
''[If] the number of potential graduates coming out of the
University of Otago College of Education drops, then that
would be a concern because it's a very good pool of graduates
for our schools in Otago and Southland.''