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National's educational policies for choice

14 April 2005

National's educational policies for choice have 'mainstream' success overseas

National's policies giving more choice in education - for parents and for self-managed schools - are part of successful, mainstream policies in a number of top-ranking OECD countries.

Education Forum policy advisor Norman LaRocque said parental choice and and school self-management worked and were well-entrenched in several countries.

"The Netherlands has had school choice since 1917. It's not a radical idea, it's just part of a successful education system.

"It's been operating in Sweden since 1992, and the competition that this has brought about from independent schools has been shown clearly to have improved test results in state schools.

"The UK's Labour Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has enough confidence in choice and self-management policies to make them a key component of his education platform for next month's likely-tightly-fought general election."

In New Zealand, the early childhood and tertiary sectors have successfully operated under policies of choice for many years. As a result there is far more diversity in those sectors and students have better access to the types of education they and their families want. Schools should be no different.

"National's policies - far from being pariahs of modern education thought, as would appear from the cries of the unions demanding centralised, industrial-age policies - really are a platform from which winning education outcomes can be built," Mr LaRocque said.

"Many of our competitors in the global knowledge economy already know this and are using them in the school sector to pull themselves ahead."


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