National has announced that if elected it will scrap Teaching Council fees for teachers.
Cost must be removed as a barrier or we will see ECE teachers deciding not to keep their registration.
Removing the fees is not just about lifting the cost of fees off teachers – when a qualified teacher holds certification, employers then know and parents can have confidence that a teacher meets professional standards.
Managing concerns about a teacher's conduct or competence is an important role that the Teaching Council plays.
For thousands of early childhood teachers who are on abysmal pay rates the increased teaching council fees do not encourage them to register, to put time and money into induction and mentoring, and to continue to renew their practising certificate.
ECE teachers are not paid as professionals and yet are expected to belong to a professional body and pay fees as a professional. This has not made sense.
Many don’t think they can afford to be a teacher any more. Many are going from pay check to pay check.
Many are considering a change in carer. There will be more loss of qualified and skilled teachers from the ECE sector.
ECE teachers don’t have pay parity with teachers in schools. Pay rates for ECE service provider attestation set by the Ministry of Education for qualified and certificated teachers in non-kindergarten ECE centres are just $21.87 and $22.51 an hour. Both rates will increase only marginally to $23.97 an hour in July 2020.
We want to see more, not fewer qualified and certificated teachers in ECE. Cost must be eliminated as a barrier to this.
So, the reasons why National’s announcement is welcomed are:
- The scrapping of fees would remove the cost barrier for ECE teachers keeping their registration.
- There is already a shortage of teachers willing to work in ECE for the pay and conditions offered, and the sector cannot afford to lose more of its professionally qualified and skilled teachers. Without qualified and certificated teachers, teacher-led services cannot be licensed to open and continue operating. When services are forced to close or cut back on the number of children due to staffing, this can leave working parents without childcare.
- Professional certification helps to make sure a person is fit to teach, meets professional standards and is safe to be with children.
Read an earlier article