Open Polytechnic signs agreement to continue offering the Teacher Education Refresh programme fees free

Posted on 14 September 2021

The Open Polytechnic recently signed a new agreement with the Ministry of Education which will enable eligible teachers whose registration has lapsed to study the online Teacher Education Refresh (TER) programme fees free.  

The TER is for teachers who are required by the Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand to complete a TER refresher programme before they can regain their Practising Certificate.

It is aimed at early childhood, primary and secondary teachers who have graduated from an initial undergraduate teaching degree but have not achieved a full practising certificate within a five-year period; are returning to the workforce after a lengthy period; or have trained overseas. Completing the TER programme enables graduates to apply to be provisionally certified by the Teaching Council.

Open Polytechnic Chief Executive, Dr Caroline Seelig, says the partnership will continue to meet the needs of the New Zealand teaching profession, which is experiencing a teacher shortage. 

“Back in September 2017, The Open Polytechnic responded to the Teachers Council request for the development and delivery of the TER programme.

“Since the programme was put in place in 2018, we have had over 805 learners complete the programme, with 184 of those graduating in 2021 alone. This is helping teachers to keep up with changing educational trends, pedagogy, practice, technology and the changes in delivery styles, curriculum and assessment expectations. The return to their teaching roots will help to address the current teacher shortage.”  

Karen Kane, the Open Polytechnic Programme Delivery Manager for TER, says the flexibility of studying online means teachers can complete the programme over a period of up to 12 months.

“TER learners who enrol into this programme are fully trained teachers in the early childhood, primary or secondary schooling sector.  For a range of reasons, their registration isn’t current, and this programme allows them to refresh and upskill, at their own pace, before they return to the classroom.

“The programme is structured around four courses and the final course involves a four-week practicum placement in a school. Our graduates often secure employment where they have completed their placement,” says Karen.

One such learner is Anna Pearson who graduated this year and has now secured a job heading up a brand new early childhood education centre in Christchurch.

“I relocated from Australia last year and started the TER programme in January 2021. By June I had completed the TER course and after my practicum placement was offered a job at the same place.”

Anna says she benefitted from having the flexibility to fit her studies around family commitments. 

“I’m a mother of four children and the flexibility of online learning allowed me to complete my studies and assignments at night and around family life. I was very driven.

“I am loving being back as an early childhood centre teacher.”

To find out more about the Teacher Education Refresh programme at Open Polytechnic, visit: