Ra-Tane Edelsten, who is studying at the University of Auckland to become a primary school teacher. Photo / Dean Carruthers
Students are now less likely to have a male teacher, with many going through their early education years without ever encountering a male role model.
Ministry of Education figures show fewer than one-in-five primary school teachers are male.
Principals want more research on what is putting men off the profession, but fear pay and high-profile sexual abuse cases are to blame.
The Ministry of Education is “very conscious” of the gender imbalance, but says with no shortage of teachers there are no recruitment drives aimed at men.
“Evidence tells us that the most important factor in lifting achievement is the quality of teaching, not the gender of the teacher,” said Dr Graham Stoop, the ministry’s head of student achievement.
Last year 28 per cent of teachers were men, down slightly from 2012 and a fall from 30 per cent in the mid-2000s.
The percentage of male teachers at primary schools fell to 18 per cent (down 1 per cent) and at secondary schools dipped to 42 per cent (down 2 per cent).
Latest Census statistics show only 3 per cent of teachers in the early childhood sector are men.
Principals’ Federation president Phil Harding said many schools struggled to hire male teachers, and there were good reasons why a more even gender split was desirable.
“Look at the percentages of children that are living with no father in their daily lives. We see the fall-out from that with boys that have lost their way, are desperately unhappy, and don’t feel like they can talk about it with mum.
“So that all gets bottled up and rebounds in the playground in anger – deeply seated stuff.”
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Updated 1 October 2014: Three years on (Craig Smith’s Health) page 7 click here
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