9 Sep 2009

Undervalued profession

This story gives the lie to Tolley's idea that graduates with MA's will rush to be fast tracked into teaching in New Zealand schools. It also demonstrates that the attacks on teachers, with the insistence that they are over paid and underworked by this NACT government is nothing more than shallow political rhetoric from those without a sustainable education policy.

Teachers earn below OECD levels

Thursday Sep 10, 2009

Primary and secondary teachers in New Zealand earn well below the OECD average, and thousands of dollars less than their Australian counterparts, a report says.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's Education at a Glance 2009 report compared the salaries of teachers in primary, lower secondary and upper secondary education, at a starting salary and after 15 years of experience.

The salary figures, in US dollars, were based on buying power parity, which eliminates price differences among countries.

New Zealand teachers at each level of education started on about US$19,236 ($28,044) - significantly less than the OECD average starting salary of US$28,687 at primary level, US$31,000 at lower secondary level and US$32,183 at upper secondary level.

After 15 years, New Zealand teachers reached about US$37,213 at all three levels of teaching, compared with OECD averages of US$39,007 at primary, US$41,993 at lower secondary and US$44,782 at upper secondary levels.

Australian teachers, on the other hand, consistently earned hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars more than the OECD average.

They began on about US$32,259 at primary level and US$32,406 at both secondary levels, and reached up to US$44,245 at primary level and US$44,942 at secondary level after 15 years.

In New Zealand, female teachers comprise 98.8 per cent of pre-primary education teachers, 83.3 per cent of primary teachers and 65.7 per cent of lower secondary education teachers.

The number of female teachers dropped to 57.8 per cent at upper secondary education level and to 49.9 per cent at tertiary level.

Teacher-student ratios were slightly smaller than OECD averages, while the net time spent teaching was above the OECD average.

Teachers' unions said the figures confirmed teachers were underpaid and undervalued, the Dominion Post reported.

PPTA president Kate Gainsford and Educational Institute president Frances Nelson both said change was needed to make the industry more attractive and to retain teachers.

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