The leader of a transition board tasked with setting up the
new Educanz body to replace the New Zealand Teachers' Council
says education sector unions are scaremongering over changes
to the regulatory and professional body.
Teachers have strongly opposed the Government's plans to
change the Teachers' Council, because of concerns it will
undermine quality teaching.
Submissions to the Education Amendment Bill (No2) closed last
week and more than 450 NZEI members have made submissions
opposing the Bill.
NZEI president Judith Nowotarski said it would make it easier
for unqualified people to act as teachers, removed the right
of teachers to directly elect their own professional body,
and replaced a high-trust model with a low-trust,
Post Primary Teachers' Association president Angela Roberts
believed its intention was not so much to raise the status of
teaching as to remove professional autonomy and bring
teachers under the control of politicians.
However, transition board chairman and former Auckland
Grammar School principal John Morris said there was no need
for alarm from the sector.
''There's no reason, I don't think, for teachers to be
concerned whatsoever. It's just different ways of joining up
the dots. I don't think they should be worried at all.
''What we all want is the best for the new body, and to make
sure that there is a truly professional body for the
Mr Morris said every profession needed a professional
regulatory body but, at the moment, the teaching profession
did not have one.
''What we really need is a professional body that is really
looking at raising the status of teaching, attracting
high-quality candidates into the profession, and also ensure
an ongoing improvement in the quality of educational
leadership and teaching.
''Those are the three things we [the transition board] are
focusing on, and ensuring that there is no hiatus between the
Teachers' Council stopping and the new body starting.
''That's a critical thing because going back to 2002, when
the Teachers' Registration Board was abolished, there was a
massive hiatus between that finishing and the Teachers'
Council starting, and we don't want that to happen again.''
He said the board was developing a vision, mission and
strategic plan for the organisation, and appointing an
interim chief executive officer to advise the Education
Minister and liaise with stakeholders.
''All those things, the first two in particular, will be seen
as a gift to Educanz, so that when Educanz starts, the new
board will have something to work under.
''They don't have to accept anything we've done. They can
just say 'that's fantastic and we love everything about it',
or 'no, we think there should be changes'.
''It's up to them to do that. We're giving them something to
start with; otherwise, they will be starting on day one with
Mr Morris said the board welcomed debate about the
legislation but it had no place in that.
''We don't develop policy, so what my own personal viewpoints
are, are totally irrelevant.''