06 Nov 2015
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Educators need to get involved in Education Act review

By Shannon Williams

The New Zealand Educational Institute is urging educators, parents and students to get involved in the review of the Education Act.

According to the NZEI, the government’s announcement of a review of the act introduces an important opportunity to debate and build a strong national consensus around what is needed to ensure New Zealand has a high quality, free public education.

“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," says NZEI president Louise Green.

Green says 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,” she says. “We want New Zealand to be the most inclusive, equitable and excellent education system in the world.”

“What we don’t want to see is a narrow statement about ‘student achievement’ defined only by standardised quantitative data in the 3Rs,” Green explains. “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.

“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,” she adds.

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

There is 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.

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