The University has ceased accepting new applications for the Bachelor of Education (Teaching) Early Childhood Education intake for Semester One, 2022.
Students looking to enter UoA’s Early Childhood Education (ECE) programme next year will have to look into studying at other education institutes, as the University will extend its suspension on accepting new applications for the Semester One, 2022 intake.
The University has taken this considerable action due to low numbers of international students, largely as a result of the closing of the border over a year ago in March 2020. UoA continues to be the only ECE provider in Aotearoa to take this action.
The decision comes amidst a critical national shortage of Early Childhood Teachers and education staff around Aotearoa, with ECE facilities and organisations now pleading with the government for urgent action to be taken. According to recent census data, nearly forty-thousand ECE teachers worked in Aotearoa, not nearly enough to fill the growing demand. Now, in the age of the pandemic, that number has since reduced.
In a One News response survey from over three-hundred early childcare facilities, employers and employees, 80.3% of those interviewed believe that massive ECE staff shortages have impacted their ability to teach. On top of this, almost ninety percent of staff stated that teacher shortages have significantly impacted the children they teach.
Whilst the government has allowed border exemptions for three hundred qualified teachers to enter Aotearoa on top of increasing discretionary hours (teacher relief work) to 80, the impact of the teacher shortage is still being felt across the country. The Early Childhood Council (ECC) criticised the University of Auckland back in June for not training more ECE staff over the pandemic, instead cancelling the mid-year intake, citing the importance they have in the economy by allowing parents to get back to work. UoA responded by stating that limited applications were the reason the decision was made, alongside the fact that mid-year applications rarely happen within the course.
The cancellation, so far, will remain in place throughout the first half of the 2022 academic year. In a statement provided by UoA to Craccum, the international student cohort makes up a significant proportion of the ECE programme. This is so much so that the University relies on, and has relied on for some years, its international students to ensure the stability and viability of the programme. As the borders have remained closed for almost a year and a half now, the future of international students at UoA is uncertain. Because of this, the University has decided continued suspension of new applications is the best route to take for now. This decision will not affect students currently enrolled in the programme.
While the foreseeable future of the Bachelor’s ECE remains uncertain, the University will continue to offer the Graduate Diploma in Teaching ECE programme from January 2022, which will be available on campus and online for students able to complete practicum requirements in the Northland and Auckland regions.