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CEPNZ: Providing Character Education for Schools

CEPNZ: Providing Character Education for Schools

Since the beginning of 2003, the CEPNZ has been providing resources and guidelines to schools for the development of a Character Education Programme within their identity. Although the CEPNZ does not promote political agendas, United Future has been the only parliamentary advocate of our view that Character Education is the only answer to help our children to develop attitudes and values that are consistent with the universal principles we call virtues (honesty, responsibility, integrity, respect, etc). This is in accord with the 1993 Curriculum Framework.

Character Education is not about adding another subject to the curriculum. It is about creating the right environment within the learning environment in which the principles of good character are expected, emphasised and esteemed. You only need to look at youth statistics to see that the only way in which a change for the better can be brought about is through a change in attitude within the individual. This is not possible if neither the home or school environment is conducive to the development of good character.

In a report commissioned by the Ministry of Education in 2003, John Church of the University of Canterbury outlined what he found to be the causes and effects of anti-social behaviour in children. In this report, it is stated: “A number of studies have shown that, prior to school entry it is possible to halt antisocial development and accelerate prosocial development in 75% to 80% of antisocial children.” The report goes on to say that as the age of the child increases, the effectiveness of intervention decreases. The CEPNZ believes that Character Education is a life-long process that needs to be emphasised from pre-school to high school in order to be effective and this is why we provide resources that can be used in the home, the kindergarten and the school.

We have approached the Ministry of Education on many occasions to seek ways in which we could work with them to establish Character Education in all NZ schools but all communications have been fruitless. Therefore schools have had to procure these resources for themselves. There are now 72 schools and 13 Early Childhood Education Centres, from one end of the country to the other, using the Character Education resources of the CEPNZ. Before the end of this year, we perceive this figure will rise to over 100 educational establishments proving the demand from parents and educators alike for values or virtue based education.

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