“The Government could provide a decent pay rise for teachers by cutting the first year fees-free tertiary education policy and using it to pay teachers more,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.
Today, secondary school teachers have threatened to strike if the government doesn’t improve its pay offer following the first primary schools teachers’ strike in 24 years.
“The Government clearly has its priorities back to front,” says Mr Seymour.
“Despite funnelling $2.8 billion into a policy to break down financial barriers to university education they’ve failed to increase participation at all.
“Only 29% of kids from decile 1-3 schools attained university entrance in 2017 versus 65.7% of kids from decile 8-10 schools.
“Labour have subsidised higher education for kids from well-off families who would have made it to university anyway and widened the gap for kids from lower socio-economic areas who have been failed by state schools and don’t end up able to make it to university.
“The Government spent $275 million on fees-free this year. That money alone could be an extra $5,000 in pay for every teacher up and down this country.
“Last year ACT campaigned on increasing the average teacher salary by $17,700.
“The Government should admit they got it wrong, scrap fees-free, and focus on providing all kids with a great primary and secondary education so they have the choice of a university education.
“They could start by paying hardworking teachers more and make teaching a career choice for graduates.”