Democracy returns to education council at last

Education minister Chris Hipkins shows good faith by returning to teachers the right to elect their own representatives.

Elected teachers to form bulk of new council 

The announcement by new Education Minister Chris Hipkins that teachers and principals will be able to elect members to the governing body of the teachers professional registration body (Education Council) has been warmly welcomed by PPTA.

The Education (Teaching Council of Aotearoa) Amendment Bill proposes that elected teachers form the majority of the new 13 person council.

On a par with other professions

On the day the announcement was made, PPTA president Jack Boyle said authentic representation should be at the heart of a professional registration body.“This legislation now puts teachers on a par with other professions, like lawyers, doctors and nurses, who also elect their own representatives to their professional bodies,” he said. 

The bill also renames the Education Council as Teaching Council, which PPTA feels better represents its role. The Education and Workforce select committee is calling for public submissions on the bill. These close on Friday 30 March.

No taxation without representation

Since 2014 PPTA and teachers around the country have been campaigning against the previous government’s decision to remove elected positions from their professional registration body.

While this was not the only area that we were opposed to in the legislation that gave rise to the Education Council, it was certainly one of the most frequently and loudly challenged of the changes amongst the thousands of teacher submissions to select committee.

What does the bill actually do?

The total number of members of the “new” council will be 13, of which seven will be elected and six will be ministerial appointees rather than all being appointed. The chairperson, who must be appointed by the minister, can be from among the elected members or the appointees. This means that elected representatives will hold the majority in the new council.

The other big changes, as far as PPTA is concerned, are that:

1. The previous position for a principal – who always ended up being a primary person because there are many more primary principals – has been split into three positions;

  • One for a principal representing the primary sector
  • One for a principal representing the secondary sector
  • One for a head teacher, senior teacher or supervisor in ECE. (Because all the elected people have to be registered and hold a current practising certificate, this can only be a teacher in ECE, and can’t be a proprietor of a private childcare centre, for example.)

2. Registered teachers in initial teacher education will have a representative: the clause words it as “1 teacher educator, elected by registered teachers working in the fields of initial and on-going teacher education”. (This presumably means that registered teachers working in PLD are also eligible to vote.)

The bill provides for the council to make rules about the election process, and we understand that Education Council CEO Graham Stoop is already preparing for this.

Submissions

Opportunities to make changes (including whether specific teacher union nominations should be considered) will inform PPTA’s submission.

The association encourages members to make their own submissions if they wish to show their support of a change back to democratic elections. Alternatively, they are invited to share their views with their regional teams or directly with national office to help build the PPTA submission.

How to submit:

The Education (Teaching Council of Aotearoa) Amendment Bill can be found on the New Zealand Parliament website 

Education (Teaching Council of Aotearoa) Amendment Bill (parliament.nz) 

If you would like to contribute to the PPTA submission email aneyland@ppta.org.nz

Timeframe and process

The bill had its first reading in February this year and will go through a select committee process where teachers and the wider community can have their say.

30 March 2018 – the closing date for public submissions on the bill

1 August 2018 – the Education and Workforce Committee will consider the bill and report back to parliament by this date.

Last modified on Tuesday, 27 March 2018 15:49