Foreign teachers coaxed into New Zealand by Government 'aren't up to the job'

The Government's recruitment drive of foreign teachers has hit a major snag - principals here don't seem to want them.

Since it began plugging the shortage last year, just over 200 teachers have been hired. It still needs more than three times that number by the end of the year.

It's a campaign costing millions of dollars - convincing foreign teachers to come here, and educate our children. There's just one problem though, and it's a big one - those teachers aren't being snapped up by schools.

Post Primary Teachers' Association member and teacher Melanie Webber says the reason is simple.

"It's really easy in terms of market why we're not hiring them - principals are not satisfied that they are up to the job."

Documents obtained by Newshub under the Official Information Act show that since the Government launched its foreign recruitment drive last year, more than 9000 foreign teachers have applied to come here.

More than1000 are ready to be interviewed and hired, but only 240 have landed jobs. It wants 850 positions filled this year, with over 200 current vacancies right now.

Glendowie College's Richard Dyke says he wants qualities that aren't being shown.

"I want to see passion, I want to see confidence, I want to see high quality qualifications," he said. "Just to say you have got a thousand qualified teachers doesn't automatically mean you have a thousand quality teachers."

The recruitment drive comes as teachers here still negotiate with the Government for better pay and working conditions. Some, like Ms Webber, are suggesting the money to recruit foreigners would be better off going to our own.

"We need to look at what is going on in the system here, and look at what is going on as a whole, rather than looking overseas to fix our problems." 

The Ministry of Education told Newshub there is enough supply to meet demand.

It says the screening process is thorough, making sure all applicants are of a good standard.

"All of the teachers that we have ready to be interviewed are qualified and they meet New Zealand standards," Ellen McGregor from the Ministry of Education says. 

The ministry is hoping it can convince schools the foreign teachers they've lined up are good enough, before this shortage spirals even further out of control.