Minister of Education travels to US for world’s largest teaching conference

Education

The Minister of Education will head to the United States tomorrow to meet with international counterparts and discuss global educational challenges.

Minister Tinetti will lead a delegation, which includes union representatives from NZEI Te Riu Roa and the Post Primary Teachers’ Association, to the OECD’s International Summit on the Teaching Profession in Washington D.C.

“The impact of COVID-19 on education has been felt around the world. I’m keen to learn how other countries have been re-engaging children and young people in learning and how they are addressing the situation of lost learning,” Jan Tinetti said.

“I know there is more we can do, on top of our investments in catch-up learning and in attendance and engagement to date. I am committed to addressing the issues we’re facing in education that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among the topics discussed will be how to enable the teaching profession to respond to the changing needs of students and families.

“It’s been a difficult few years for the teaching profession globally. They’ve been forced to adapt their processes and work under intense pressure. In the face of teacher shortages, we want to make sure we’re not only attracting good people to the sector but retaining them too.

“This is why, since taking office in 2017, Labour has increased the average teacher’s salary package by 18 percent and put initiatives in place to increase the number of teachers across primary, intermediate and secondary schools.

“The Government has also been very focused on supporting teacher recruitment, including the investment last year of an additional $24 million to train and attract 1000 more teachers.

“Since September last year, 478 people have been offered teaching scholarships, of which 290 were career-change scholarships, we have supported 124 beginning and returning teachers into roles through the BeTTER Programme, and all qualified teachers are on the Accredited Employer Work Visa Green List, with over 758 visas already issued and 302 teachers already here.

“There are relocation grants of up to $10,000 in place to encourage teachers to come to New Zealand, a bonding scheme to incentivise teachers to work in schools in the regions and hard-to-recruit places, and the Teacher Education Refresh Programme continues to be free to make it easier for teachers to return to teaching.

“Domestically, we are absolutely committed to maintaining and increasing the teaching workforce, but there will be a lot to learn from discussing and comparing New Zealand’s situation with education experts from other countries.

“It will also be useful for the representatives of our teaching unions to link up with education experts and union equivalents. I know they have been looking forward to this opportunity,” Jan Tinetti said. 

Minister Tinetti will also meet with Canada’s Minister for Women, Equity and Youth, as well as education and UNESCO officials during a brief stop in Ottawa.

Minister Tinetti will travel to Ottawa on 22 April, on to Washington D.C. on 24 April and returns to New Zealand on 28 April.