11 December 2018
Childhood Council today delivered a petition to Parliament seeking scrutiny of
the way the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is applied to
Pasifika early childhood education teachers.
signature petition with 759 signatures collected from 80 early childhood
education (ECE) services, was received by National MP, and early childhood
education spokesperson, Nicola Willis.
Childhood Council (ECC) Chief Executive Officer, Peter Reynolds, says the
petition seeks a review of the Teaching Council’s IELTS policy as it relates to
Pasifika ECE services.
overseen by the Teaching Council and it is a very stringent and costly test. It is also an international standardised
test, and it can prove a significant hurdle for those wanting to study to be
ECE teachers,” Mr Reynolds says.
“We hear from
the sector that immersion Pasifika ECE services are struggling to find Pasifika
teachers, and IELTS poses a significant barrier for many Pasifika teachers who
are already specialised educators in their own right in their own language,” Mr
“This is not
only an issue when we have a significant teacher shortage in early childhood,
but also because Pasifika teachers are specialists in their languages.”
A number of
tertiary courses that trained ECE Pasifika teachers have stopped running or
been significantly reduced because IELTS, required for the courses for
international students, is a significant hurdle.
This means less
Pasifika ECE teachers are being trained and are graduating, and Pasifika ECE
services are struggling to fill vacancies with candidates with suitable
Pasifika language and cultural skills.
While the Teaching
Council has signalled the English language policies it oversees in relation to
teachers will be undergoing changes, those changes will benefit people from
countries where English is the official language and their education has been
undertaken in English language.
wonderful to be able to coordinate this petition on behalf of the ECE Pasifika
sector and we thank everyone that has contributed to the petition being handed
into Parliament for further scrutiny today,” Mr Reynolds says.
Childhood Council is a not-for-profit membership body that represents the
interests of 1,200 community-owned and privately-owned early childhood centres.
There are 4,659
licensed ECE services in New Zealand.
2,635 of these are licensed childcare centres. Of these, 101 are identified by the Ministry
of Education as Pasifika services (Samoan, Niuean, Tongan, Cook, Tokelauan and
Pacific Island other).
gathered 759 signatures, from 80 ECE services, for a paper signature petition
to Parliament asking that the House of Representatives inquire into the impact
that the Teaching Council’s current application of the International English
Language Test System is having on specialist Pasifika language teachers in
early childhood education.