After lengthy delays AUT University has finally launched its new Bachelor of Education primary specialty at its North Shore campus.
Dr Wayne Mapp, MP for the North Shore and Associate Minister for Tertiary Education, was on hand yesterday to officially launch the specialty and stressed that there is still a premium on basic knowledge and skills as the foundation of all future learning.
“The role that our schools play in equipping our children to access and understand the skills they need is more important than it ever was. Today we celebrate another step in AUT's ongoing drive to ensure that teachers get the new skills and knowledge they need to equip them for the classrooms of today, Dr Mapp said.
The new specialty means that students studying in the Bachelor of Education can now major in Steiner, Montessori, Pasifika or generic primary in their final year of teacher education at AUT.
From the early 2000s the Government moratorium in place for new primary programmes and specialties has meant AUT could not progress the introduction of the new specialty. The new primary programme was approved by AUT, the Committee on University Academic Programmes and the New Zealand Teachers Council in 2004 but the application to the Ministry of Education for a waiver of the moratorium to introduce it was declined. However, in 2009 a waiver was again sought and was approved.
Speaking at the event, Head of the School of Education, Jay Reid, said graduates of the new specialty would assist in building up a pool of experienced primary teachers that would address the present shortage and offer principals the opprtunity to employ New Zealand educated teachers. He noted that many of those principals present would endorse the fact that primary teacher education was back on the North Shore (the site of the previous North Shore Teachers College).
He says with the introduction of the new generic primary programme, choice for students will be expanded, teacher development will be greatly enriched, and quality of graduates in the Auckland area will be enhanced.
“Employers will be given greater choice in the selection of graduates and their strengths, and we expect higher quality learning opportunities for children in primary schools that select AUT graduates,” Reid says.
Dr Mapp agrees and said the introduction of the new specialty will provide more choice for student teachers and more choice for schools in selecting graduates with the specific skills they need.
“The Greek philosopher Aristotle said that ‘To learn is a natural pleasure, not confined to philosophers but common to all men'. AUT, and the new specialisation in its Bachelor of Education degree, are equipping today's budding teachers to ensure that the ‘natural pleasure' of learning finds its expression in tomorrow's generation. I congratulate all those involved with this initiative,” Dr Mapp said.
With the introduction of a new generic primary specialty to the Bachelor of Education, AUT now offers the full range of teacher education options including specialties. A graduate of the new specialty will be able to teach in any primary or intermediate school.