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College of Education launches new postgraduate programme

Tuesday 9 October 2018 10:53am

A new suite of postgraduate qualifications launched by the University's College of Education will help teachers, principals, and other education professionals to meet their professional development needs.

The University of Otago College of Education has announced a suite of new postgraduate qualifications aimed at upskilling current teachers.

The new programme includes a new Postgraduate Certificate in Education and Learning (PGCertEdLn), Postgraduate Diploma of Education and Learning (PGDipEdLn), and Master of Education and Learning (MEdLn).

"We want our programme to meet the needs of teachers, principals and other educators now."

College of Education Senior Lecturer Dr David Berg says the programme is made up of a series of papers that staircase together to form a pathway through to a Master's level qualification, allowing people to do one or two papers a year while they work and systematically build their degree.

The papers have been carefully designed in consultation with teachers, principals, and other education professionals to meet their professional development needs, he says.

“We are aware that the world in which teachers operate is in a constant state of change. We want our programme to meet the needs of teachers, principals and other educators now. If we are to do this we need to be responsive and aware of what is happening in ECE settings and schools. Our new programme reflects this.”

Candidates can study an unendorsed option or take a specified suite of papers to specialise in one of five qualification endorsements: Curriculum (NZC), Digital Technologies, Early Childhood Education, Leadership and Studies in Teacher Education.

The qualifications are aimed at teachers, principals and other education professionals, and are now open for applications.

Addressing a national teacher shortage

The College of Education is working hard to attract more students, in a bid to help prevent a major looming teacher shortage across New Zealand.

Otago’s Master of Teaching and Learning has been in high demand, particularly in the secondary sector, where there have been twice as many applicants as could be accommodated in the programme for 2019.

Associate Dean (Teacher Education) Dr Alex Gunn says the College offers both graduate and undergraduate pathways so that people with existing degrees who wish to enter teaching can qualify through a one-year programme and start working sooner.

“We do not cap numbers in the undergraduate pathways, so we will take as many as we select through application. In our one-year programme we are limited at the moment in the numbers we can take for secondary and to a degree, primary, but our new early childhood education pathway is adding an equivalent master's level qualification for people who want to teach in that sector, so we hope to see growth there.

“Teacher shortages are in all sectors and in both English and Maori-medium schooling. By having our primary bi-cultural teacher education programme operating in Invercargill, we are doing all we can to support the profession by way of new graduates.”

Applications have now closed for next year, but Dr Gunn says there are many reasons for people to consider a teaching degree in the future.

“The top reasons people tell me they come teaching haven’t changed much over my teaching career, and I agree with them all as great reasons for teaching. They include that you get to do something different every day, you get to teach your passion, and you get to help other people reach that ‘light bulb’ moment.

“People also routinely tell me they come to teaching because they enjoy children and young people’s perspectives, energy, enthusiasm for learning, about the world and how they can be in it.”