A planned increase in certification fees could see teachers at community and Early Childhood Education centres forced out of the industry, according to a new industry survey.
Teaching Council certification fees, which are required for teachers to become qualified, are being increased by 113 per cent from $220.80 every three years to $157 annually from February 2021. The fees are often paid or subsidised by centres.
A survey of Early Childhood Council (ECC) members, released today, found that many centres will reconsider paying or subsidising teacher fees following the planned increase.
It also found that 70 per cent of respondents have their teacher certification fees fully subsidised, and only 13 per cent will continue to do so. Fifty-six per cent of respondents said the centres will stop fully subsidising or will no longer subsidise the fees.
It also found that 91 per cent did not feel the increase was justified.
“Times are tight for centres and teachers. What we’re hearing from our community and private centre members is they don’t see enough value in the certification to justify the increase,” ECC chief executive Peter Reynolds said today in a statement.
The Teaching Council told TVNZ1's Breakfast in February that the planned fee increase was essential to upholding the quality of teaching.
"Teachers have an amazing opportunity to impact society and the kids that they’re working with into the next generation, so our role in there is to ensure teacher quality and leadership and safety of children and reputation of the profession," Teaching Council chief executive Lesley Hoskin told Breakfast.
"How we do that is we’ve been set up as an independent statutory body, which means we’re not funded by the Government, we’re not part of Government.
"The importance for that for teachers is that as experts of education, they get to bring their voice, their opinion, their thinking to shape education."
The ECC have since identified a number of possible solutions to help mitigate its potential impact on teachers, including a phased increase of costs; a proposal for the Government to fund the Teaching Council’s complaints and disciplinary operation, with the remainder to be covered through registration fees; and developing the council’s ability to generate its own revenue to lessen its financial burden on centres and teachers.
"More focus on value, efficiency and accountability would reassure the early learning sector, and should be a key element of future decision-making," Mr Reynolds said.