Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search


Report says NZ's school curriculum obsolete

Report says New Zealand's school curriculum obsolete

New Zealand's school curriculum is obsolete and inherently flawed and should be subjected to international benchmarking, according to a report by Melbourne-based education consultant Dr Kevin Donnelly to be published on Monday, 21 October, by the Education Forum.

The paper, A Review of New Zealand's School Curriculum: An International Perspective, compares New Zealand's curriculum against international 'best practice'. The report is timely given the decision by the Ministry of Education to undertake a stocktake of the New Zealand curriculum, which includes an invitation to experts outside New Zealand to prepare a critique of the current curriculum framework.

Dr Donnelly argues that the New Zealand curriculum and associated national curriculum statements have failed to achieve the Ministry's stated goal of raising the achievement levels of all students and ensuring that the quality of teaching and learning in New Zealand schools is of the highest international standard.

"While the intention has been to improve standards, there is no readily identifiable evidence that this has occurred," he said. Dr Donnelly says that while the New Zealand curriculum might have been in line with international practice in some countries during the 1980s and '90s, it is now out of date.

"The New Zealand model embodies a 'student-centred', 'outcomes-based' approach which has since been largely abandoned by equivalent education systems, such as those in Australia and the United States, in favour of a 'standards approach'," he said.

New Zealand's curriculum represents a diminished view of what students should learn, Dr Donnelly said. The English framework, for example, fails to properly teach the 'basics' such as grammar and a phonics approach to reading.

"One only needs to look at the number of remedial English and maths courses in New Zealand tertiary institutions to understand how low standards have fallen," he said.

Dr Donnelly said New Zealand's curriculum framework would benefit from an international comparative analysis similar to that undertaken by the Ministry of Education in Victoria, Australia, when developing its second edition of the Curriculum and Standards Framework.

Dr Donnelly is executive director of Education Strategies based in Melbourne. His doctoral thesis deals with developments in school curriculum over the last 25 years both in Australia and overseas. He has published over 180 articles in the daily media and professional journals, writes regularly for the Melbourne daily newspaper, Herald Sun, and often speaks on radio.

The report will be available from the Education Forum website (http:// on Monday, 21 October, 2002.

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis Review: Reclaiming The N-Word - Spike Lee's BlacKkKlansman

Black resistance to institutional racism in the US has a long, tangled, and traumatic intellectual history. Although we may have assumed much too easily that white supremacists like David Duke had become marginalised as a political force, in reality they never really disappeared ... More>>

Howard Davis Review: The Minstrel in The Gallery - Sam Hunt's Selected Poems

Perhaps the most striking aspect of Sam Hunt's poetry is its quality of urgent authenticity. Encountering this latest compilation, the reader is immediately struck by its easy accessibility, tonal sincerity, and lack of linguistic pretension ... More>>

A Matter Of Fact: Truth In A Post-Truth World

How do we convincingly explain the difference between good information and misinformation? And conversely, how do we challenge our own pre-conceived notions of what we believe to be true? More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: The Road To Unfreedom

Valerie Morse: Yale professor of history Tim Snyder publishes a stunning account of the mechanisms of contemporary Russian power in US and European politics. In telling this story he presents both startling alarms for our own society and some mechanisms of resistance. More>>


Doing Our Bit: An Insider's Account Of New Zealand Political Campaigning

In 2013, Murdoch Stephens began a campaign to double New Zealand’s refugee quota. Over the next five years he built the campaign into a mainstream national movement – one that contributed to the first growth in New Zealand’s refugee quota in thirty years. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland