Future of learning discussion more important than flag debate

2 November 2015

Today’s announcement of a review of the Education Act introduces an important opportunity to debate and build a strong national consensus around what is needed to ensure we have a high quality, free public education that meets the needs of every child, says NZEI Te Riu Roa.

“It may sound a bit dry and lack the visual appeal of the flag debate, but this public conversation is arguably even more important because it is about the shaping of our future citizens," said NZEI President Louise Green.

NZEI is encouraging educators, parents and students to get involved in the process.

A taskforce established two years ago recommended that the Act be updated to ensure it outlined a clear purpose for education that was "enduring and inclusive" and that recognised student success across a wide range of learning.

“Free, quality public education must be at the heart of any new Act. We want New Zealand to be the most inclusive, equitable and excellent education system in the world,” said Ms Green.

“What we don’t want to see is a narrow statement about ‘student achievement’ defined only by standardised quantitative data in the 3Rs. Schooling must be part of lifelong learning and recognise that educational success comes in many forms, not just National Standards in reading, writing and maths,” she said.

“Education Minister Hekia Parata has invited input from the education sector, parents and the wider community, and we are looking forward to a robust and genuine consultation period.”

The review of the Act will also look at school governance and clear roles and responsibilities for Boards of Trustees.

There is now a six-week consultation period running until December 14, including multiple workshops, an online platform and meetings with interested organisations. This will be followed by the introduction of legislation and six months of select committee hearings around the country next year.