Giving Teachers the Recognition They DeserveUNESCO World Teachers Day (celebrated on 29 October 2010) presents the opportunity to recognise teachers and the important role they play in shaping our nation’s future, according to New Zealand Kindergartens (NZK).
NZK is the umbrella organisation representing twenty nine kindergarten associations covering 430 kindergartens nation-wide. As an organisation it is committed to employing qualified and registered teachers and providing high quality education for all young children.
Clare Wells, NZK Chief Executive says: “Teachers are at the front line of the kindergarten service, working directly with children and their families in local communities. We recognise the contribution teachers make and the positive outcomes for children and families of having qualified teachers providing education programmes not only while they attend kindergarten, but also into adulthood.”
The Education Workforce Advisory Group, set up to provide advice to the Minister of Education on how to raise the overall quality of teaching, highlighted that “The teaching profession plays an integral role in shaping the next generation of New Zealand citizens.”
The group referenced the comprehensive body of research saying it “Clearly indicates that effective teachers are the main factor in raising the achievement and fostering the ongoing engagement of students” and that ”Effective teaching is recognised as the most important… lever for improving educational outcomes for students.”
UNESCO (United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) describes teachers as “change agents, providing the impetus for the emergence of educated communities”. NZK agrees. “Teaching is about shaping the next generation, helping our children reach their full potential and giving them the confidence and knowledge they need to become successful, contributing members of our society. That is a significant responsibility.
“It is deeply concerning therefore, that the Government has suggested ECE services reduce the number of qualified teachers to manage the shortfall bought about by their budget cuts.
“At a time when the Government is looking to improve school achievement and ensure best use of public funds, it would be prudent to retain funding in the sector we know makes a positive contribution to children’s schooling success and has long term benefits for children and for New Zealand. Fewer than 100% qualified teachers is simply not good enough for our youngest children,” said Clare Wells.
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