Maori Teacher Workloads

  • Brian Donnelly
Associate Minister of Education

Associate Education Minister Brian Donnelly said today that solving the workload pressures on Maori teachers is one of the highest priorities for the Government to deal with.

The issue is being looked at jointly by the Ministry of Education, Te Reo Areare (NZEI) and Te Motuhake Mana Maori (PPTA), following discussions of the Teacher Workload Working Group.

"It involves working carefully through some of the important issues facing Maori teachers and coming up with solutions that will help relieve the pressure on them," said Mr Donnelly.

"Reducing work pressures will enable them to be more effective in the job."

Mr. Donnelly said that one of the main problems is that some Maori teachers can end up being everything to everyone.

"They can be the counsellor to students and to parents, and sometimes to their own colleagues. They can be the sole Maori resource person in the school called upon to be the expert in Maori culture and language. They are often the front person in formal school ceremonies and the only person capable of running the Maori culture group. They can also be the important link between the school and the Maori community."

"We can't rush in and come up with something that might actually be counterproductive," said Mr Donnelly.

"Any solution must be aimed at fixing the causes of the problem, and this could take some time. The days of ad hoc solutions have to be put behind us, and any short-term solution must be closely linked to the longer term workload issue for teachers."

"This also means keeping an eye on the impact of other education developments in areas such as the Review of Teacher Education, a unified pay system for teachers, or developments in the National Qualifications Framework," said Mr Donnelly.