Public service cuts: Education ministry prepares to use consultants

The Ministry of Education is preparing consultants to do the work of the people it is laying off, say staff.

The ministry has proposed cutting a total of 755 positions, of which 316 are currently vacant, to meet government cost-cutting targets.

RNZ has seen a message alerting firms offering professional learning and development (PLD) for teachers to likely future training contracts.

The message said the initial “contract opportunity” would be in teaching teachers to use the government-mandated “structured literacy” approach for teaching children to read.

But it also said “over time” there would also be opportunities in areas including assessment, NCEA implementation, NCEA co-requisite standards (the literacy and numeracy requirements), and support for updates to the curriculum as those were rolled out.

Ministry staff told RNZ that helping schools with assessment, NCEA changes and the NCEA co-requisite standards were currently covered by ministry staff, but they were losing their jobs.

They said consulting firms were already asking some of the staff being made redundant to work for them, meaning they would be doing the same work, but for firms that would charge double what they were being paid.

RNZ previously reported that the ministry had proposed cutting 30 NCEA roles from its regional offices and 91 occupied roles in its NCEA change programme due to the government’s decision to delay changes to NCEA levels 2 and 3.

RNZ asked the ministry if it would be hiring contractors to do the same work as the people it had proposed laying off, but did not receive a direct answer.

“The focus of PLD shifts over time to reflect teacher needs and government priorities. The ministry has always contracted PLD providers to undertake the in depth professional learning with teachers,” it said.

“These providers are organisations outside of the ministry such as universities or private companies.”

The ministry said it would brief firms on Tuesday about contracts for teaching structured literacy and it had nothing to do with its cost-saving programme or proposed restructure.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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