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Competition lures Māori from teaching

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Primary school teachers are ramping up their push for improved money and conditions, after pausing bargaining because of events in Christchurch.

NZEI Te Riu Roa president Lynda Stuart says a planned series of paid union meetings was put off so teachers and support staff could focus on supporting the needs of the children at this time, and instead the union is conducting an electronic ballot.

She says the offer on the table does nothing to restore pay parity with secondary teachers, and it also fails to address structural problems that make it hard to recruit and retain Māori teachers, especially those with te reo Māori skills.

"They may go to university and study to become a teacher but actually on leaving the world's your oyster. It's very hard (for schools) to compete with that. Our organisation has a clear policy of wanting te reo embedded in the education system and we need more teachers of the reo," Ms Stewart says.

The NZEI’s Māori medium workforce strategy estimates 4000 fluent Māori teachers are needed in the system, and the current number falls far short.







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