I’m greatly concerned about the proposed Education (Protecting Teacher Title) Amendment Bill currently making its way through Parliament which, as you may guess from its name, seeks to protect the title of teacher. But protect it from what?
The Bill being supported by the Labour/Greens/NZ First coalition government will make it illegal for people to call themselves a teacher if they are not fully qualified and registered as one, and anyone who breaches this rule is liable to pay a $2000 fine.
You may ask what’s wrong with that, and the simple answer is to point out all those who teach without being registered teachers. Think teacher aides, music teachers, ballet teachers, dance teachers; the list goes on. They will all have to find a new name to define the good work that they do for fear of breaching the law and facing a massive fine.
This approach undermines and devalues the important work that so many educators do and suggests a nanny state approach that the Labour/NZ First/Greens Government seems adamant on pursuing.
There are many people who call themselves teachers without working in a traditional school structure, like those who teach music and dance, and what difference does it make to force them to go by another title?
National believes there are far greater priorities for education, especially when we already have provisions in the law to penalise those who may be misleading people about their qualifications or registration as school teachers. Passing legislation like this will benefit no-one while inconveniencing thousands and potentially hindering their ability to do their jobs.
This Bill is a clear-cut case of a Government fixing a problem that doesn’t exist, while creating another one in the process.
- Simeon Brown is MP for Pakuranga