Older teachers forced out of class by new technology curriculum

Primary school teachers say the new technology curriculum is forcing some older teachers out of the classroom.

The digital technologies curriculum was introduced six months ago, with teachers having to incorporate the likes of coding and robotics into their teaching by 2020.

Karen Tait has been teaching for 30 years and says teaching the curriculum has been "scary" and "confronting", with some experienced teachers trained before the birth of the internet finding it too much.

"A lot of teachers my age, particularly mid-50s, have left teaching because it has been too big to change," says the Hillpark Primary School teacher.

The average age of a teacher in New Zealand is 54, but Auckland's Mind Lab wants to help them upskill. It has developed an e-learning course to help teachers learn, and 10,000 teachers have already signed up.

"When they were going into teaching that was 30 years ago, and the world's moved on... We wanted to provide a resource for them," says Fiona Webby, Mind Lab's general manager.

But Ms Tait is also worried about the limited time to learn the skills, and says the Ministry of Education needs to realise there is only so many hours in a day.

The Primary Teachers Union agrees and says it is not only concerned about teachers finding time to learn the material, but to test it out in the classroom.

The Ministry of Education says it is also providing a $38 million package to support the schools preparing for the new content.