Teachers play a critical role in sustaining societal education provision for children or tamariki. However, Aotearoa, like the rest of the world, has been experiencing a significant shortage of teachers. To counter this, a variety of teacher recruitment and retention strategies have been employed. Each year, TeachNZ distributes a plethora of scholarships to individuals who have been accepted by one of their approved education providers. Scholarship recipients have their training fees paid for by TeachNZ and are awarded an allowance. In return, recipients are contractually obliged to teach for a stipulated amount of time, known as a ‘bonding period’. If recipients do not fulfil this contractual bonding period, they are to repay the agreed upon amount, which differs depending on the scholarship that was awarded. However, an estimated 22% of recipients default on their scholarship, either during their training or during their bonding period, making them liable to a financial penalty. Therefore, several questions have been raised about scholarship bonding, why recipients are defaulting, and whether this approach works to attract and retain quality teachers.

The research

Standard of Proof’s research concentrated on what the effects of scholarship bonding on recipients and teacher supply in New Zealand, how the TeachNZ bonding scheme is working and what could be improved upon, and what other mechanisms could be put in place. The team employed a mixed-methods approach, undertaking a literature review and interviews with a diverse sample of scholarship recipients who had either completed or defaulted on their scholarship requirements. A logistic regression analysis was also employed on the Ministry’s programme administrative data.

We are pleased to have been able to support the Ministry of Education’s Te Puna Ohumahi Mātauranga | Education Workforce to help inform their future decisions around TeachNZ scholarships.

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