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“Let’s Stop Tinkering Around The Edges”

14 July 2000

“LET’S STOP TINKERING AROUND THE EDGES”

“Close examination of the detail provided on the Government’s recently announced teaching scholarships shows that only 50, or 12%, of the 405 scholarships are dedicated to maths, science and technology teacher trainees”, said Simon Carlaw, Chief Executive of the New Zealand Manufacturers Federation. “This is at a time when there is compelling, and growing evidence, that skills shortages in these areas are holding back New Zealand’s economic growth, particularly in the essential value-added area.

“Our hope is that at least some of the 350 scholarships aimed at Maori and Pacific people may lead to at least some of these trainees using the scholarships to take up the teaching of maths, science and technology. But there can be no guarantee this will happen.

“New Zealand must get serious about addressing the shortfall of skilled and well qualified maths, science and technology teachers. An additional rider on at least some of the 350 scholarships that they were available to Maori and Pacific teacher trainees only for study in these areas would be a good start.

“I fail to see how an additional 50 teachers in maths science and technology, however well intentioned, is going to make any significant dent in the skills shortage problem currently facing this country. We need to “get real” about addressing the problem and stop tinkering around the edges.”

Further comments:

Simon Carlaw telephone 04 473-3000 (bus)

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