WELLINGTON, May 17 - In 2000 teacher education programmes were frozen in an attempt to control the quantity and quality of training courses.

Quality assurances is now in place according to Education Minister Nikki Kaye, who announced on Wednesday that the moratorium would be lifted from January 1 next year.

"We are open once again to applications of good quality from innovative providers," she said.

In a speech at Auckland's Onehunga High School she also announced $5.2 million to fund extra places in Teach First NZ programmes over four years and $2m to create a mentoring programme to provide up to 700 provisionally certified teachers with full registration.

Teach First NZ places will increase the number of graduates from 60 to 90.

The mentoring programme will target 800 teachers with an aim of getting 700 a full practising certificate.

"We will be prioritising those in science, technology, maths and Te Reo so it will help with some of those shortage areas," Ms Kaye said.

"We'll also be prioritising at a geographical level as well."

It's also hoped removing the moratorium on new training providers will bring down the cost of teacher refresher courses, currently about $4000, which can sometimes be prohibitive for relief teachers trying to upskill.

Kaye said she believed the package as a whole was enough, but Labour and the Green Party disagree.

Green Party education spokeswoman Catherine Delahunty said teachers were getting older and leaving the profession while younger teachers were burning out.

"This little bit of funding announced today is a stopgap measure that won't address the root of the problem - not enough teachers in our schools to teach kids," she said.

Labour's Chris Hipkins said the announcement didn't address the disconnect between the teachers being trained and the jobs available, or critical shortages in Auckland where the cost of living is affecting new teachers.

"National's decision to lift the moratorium on initial teacher education programmes suggests they've learned nothing from their previous failed experiment with a more-market approach to teacher training," he said.

"The bums on seats model has failed and it's time National woke up to that reality."


NZN