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Sunday, August 01, 2004

From our crap journalism file 

The Sunday Star-Times out does itself, with yet another entry into our files, this time with a little gem ostensibly about an audit of teacher training qualifications. The audit is said to be "in the wake of" (which implies causality, without stating it) concerns including:

A myriad of programmes with varied entry and graduating standards.
A string of teachers being ousted for misconduct and incompetence.
Some principals hiring UK teachers, saying they are higher quality.

Point 1: let's see, a myriad of programmes, eh? Isn't that called "a market" - exactly the sort of thing the right-wing press in NZ loves to promote, and to castigate the government (or, more precisely, a Labour-led government) for limiting or regulating in the public interest? There may be legitimate concern about the quality of some of these programmes, but since when did the gutter press care about quality, as long as a market was functioning?

Point 2: "A string" of naughty teachers eh? This implies quite the crisis in NZ teaching. And yet, if we read on, we find that "18 teachers were struck off last year, one more than the previous year, 25 were struck off in 2001 and 16 in 2000." Well, notwithstanding a few dodgy commas in there, what we're looking at is about 0.023% of the country's 86,000 teachers being forcibly removed from the register each year. By no stretch of the imagination does this constitute "a string". The numbers are infinitesimal and static.

Point 3: Hiring UK teachers over NZ applicants. Now here is the story, buried away in a little national self-castigation of the sort the NZ press specializes in. Basically, people like Avondale College principal Brent Lewis are discriminating against NZ citizens on vague, unspecified "quality" grounds, for which no support is forthcoming. Does the NZ Immigration Service know? There are very clear principles in our immigration law about the need for employers to hire qualified New Zealand (and Australian) citizens ahead of others, although some exceptions are provided for, including in teaching. Someone should alert the authorities to this miscarriage of justice: if NZ teachers are filling Lewis' intray with applications, there's no bloody need for him to be hiring in the UK!


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