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Wave knowledge goodbye

Wave knowledge goodbye

New Zealand’s drive towards a knowledge economy will only become a reality when the government recognises the importance of teachers in so-called knowledge wave subjects such as technology and ICT, PPTA president Phil Smith said today.

Mr Smith is one of 450 leaders attending the Knowledge Wave 2003 – The Leadership Forum, which starts today in Auckland.

He said secondary teachers were at the forefront of imparting knowledge to the next generation and he viewed the conference as an excellent opportunity to share ideas with other sectors on how teachers could better contribute to a knowledge economy.

However, secondary teachers were concerned that some curriculum areas were being destroyed because the status and qualifications of teachers in those areas had been downgraded.

About 1600 secondary teachers – many in curriculum areas such as ICT, technology, graphics and Maori - missed out on the new step 14 of the secondary teachers’ collective agreement after an arbitration panel decision to exclude qualifications that were previously considered degree-equivalent from the top step.

Mr Smith said the decision excluded people with the best practical qualifications they could get in their specialist area and was a betrayal of the trust the government had put in the ability of these teachers to impart new knowledge.

“Many of the teachers in these areas have been at the forefront of the development of new curriculum areas such as technology and ICT,” Mr Smith said.

“They are highly-skilled people that this country desperately needs to further its aspirations of becoming a knowledge-based economy and they are the very people the government has trumpeted in promoting the knowledge economy.

“Now they are being told they are not good enough, that their qualifications and skills are inferior to their colleagues with degrees. We already have shortages in technology, ICT, PE, Maori, commerce, music and graphics and now more will consider leaving.

“How will we grow an innovative New Zealand and become a knowledge-based economy if there is no-one left in schools to pass on the knowledge?”

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