Government does nothing for the shortage of early childhood teachers, says Te Rito Maioha


Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand is very disappointed that once again, the government has ignored the shortage of early childhood teachers in teacher-led early childhood education services.  

‘While it is good to see something being done about the shortage of primary and secondary school teachers, it is appalling that once again, the government has forgotten about early childhood education and the shortage of qualified teachers in our sector,’ says Te Rito Maioha Chief Executive, Kathy Wolfe.  

‘Not only is there no funding for additional early childhood education trainee teacher places, there is no new funding to support Early Childhood Education Initial Teacher Education (ITE) providers like Te Rito Maioha, which have a proven track record when it comes to qualified teachers.’  

Ms Wolfe says using Ministry of Education and Tertiary Education Commission data, Te Rito Maioha has estimated that New Zealand needs about 2100 new early childhood teachers a year.  That is, 800 to replace those leaving the profession and 1300 to meet increased demand for places in early childhood services.  

‘While the Ministry of Education said in a Select Committee last year that it does not have enough data about early childhood education to do anything about the shortage, this is not factual.  

‘Early childhood representatives, including Te Rito Maioha, have been working with the Ministry of Education to extract data from various government systems including the Education Counts website, which the Ministry of Education runs.  We are yet to hear the outcome of this piece of work.’  

Ms Wolfe says the early childhood sector was more than hopeful that Budget 2019 would start to address the early childhood sector’s decade of underfunding.  

‘Given that yesterday’s announcement ignored our sector and New Zealand’s youngest tamariki once again, we wonder what has happened to the Minister of Education’s promise of a 100% qualified early childhood education workforce.’