Swimming, ballet and art teachers may have to dream up another title – or risk getting slapped with a $2000 fine.
A bill that will control who gets to be called teacher is before a select committee.
If it is passed into law, using the word teacher without a teaching degree would be punishable with a $2000 fine.
The National Party has touted the bill as an idea that will “undermine educators throughout the country”.
The intent of the Education (Protecting Teacher Title) Amendment Bill is to lift the status of teachers by stopping those who have not gained recognised teaching qualifications from using that title.
Those who aren’t qualified could use titles like mentor, lecturer, tutor or educator.
National education spokeswoman Nikki Kaye said the bill jeopardised many current teachers and early childhood teachers whose current qualifications and experiences fall outside of the criteria.
She said it would affect thousands of people.
“It has the potential to undermine and devalue our many educators who contribute to the wellbeing of our country.
“There are already provisions in the law to penalise people who may be misleading people about their qualifications.
“The impact of the bill is not even isolated to the education sector. Are we going to fine every music teacher, dance teacher and swimming teacher?
“National believes there are far greater priorities for education. This bill has far reaching consequences for many people.”
Submissions for the bill, fronted by New Zealand First MP Jenny Marcroft, closed on Friday.
People who have no recognised teaching qualification should not be able to use the title teacher, the Bill wrote.
Currently teachers become qualified by completing a three-year Bachelor of Education, a Bachelor’s degree and then a one-year Graduate Diploma of Teaching or a four-year conjoint degree that combines study in teaching subjects with teacher training.
“Clarity around the use of the title of teacher is essential in order to avoid any misunderstanding by the public about the qualifications, registration status and professional oversight by the persons using the title of teacher.”