Tracey Martin defends Bill to restrict title of 'teacher'

Tracey Martin defends Bill to restrict title of 'teacher'
Photo credit: Newshub Nation

NZ First MP Tracey Martin has defended a Bill which proposes to restrict who can call themselves a teacher in New Zealand.

The Member's Bill, in the name of fellow NZ First MP Jenny Marcroft, has been strongly criticised by the National Party - but Ms Martin rejects the criticism as "scaremongering".

The Education (Protecting Teacher Title) Amendment Bill, which is at select committee stage, will mean that only those who are trained and qualified can use the title of teacher.

"I'm not surprised that the National Party has started a mean campaign trying to scaremonger all sorts of people into believing that they're going to be prosecuted or fined, as if there's no other descriptor by which they can classify what they do when they exchange knowledge or give instruction to children outside of the school environment," Ms Martin said on Monday.

"Shouldn't you as a parent know whether your child has someone who is a teaching apprentice in front of them?

"You might think that's great, [but] some other parent might think, 'Hang on a minute, my child has certain challenges - I think I would like to have a more qualified and senior teacher please'."

Ms Martin says the purpose of the Bill is "to raise the standard of teachers and have them recognised for the professionals that they are".

National Party education spokesperson Nikki Kaye said the Bill is "a solution looking for one problem and creating another".

"This Bill jeopardises many of our current teachers and early childhood teachers whose current qualifications and experiences fall outside of the criteria," she said.

"It has the potential to undermine and devalue our many educators who contribute to the wellbeing of our country.

"There are already provisions in the law to penalise people who may be misleading people about their qualifications."

Ms Kaye also questioned whether people who teach music, dancing and swimming would be among those who may face fines for using the term 'teacher'.


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