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New Research Trust Launched by Minister

Cognition Education Research Trust

for Immediate Release: 21 February 2006

New Research Trust Launched by Minister


A major new source of funding for education research was officially launched in Wellington last night by the Minister of Education, the Hon. Steve Maharey.

The Cognition Education Research Trust, launched at a ceremony at Te Papa Tongarewa/The Museum of New Zealand, is expected to become one of the country’s most significant sources of non-governmental funding in the field of education research.

Mr Maharey welcomed the trust, saying it would contribute to building a stronger research base for New Zealand's education system.

"High quality research is essential if we are to lift standards right across our education system. We know from experience what an enormous impact research can have on educational outcomes,” he said.

The Cognition Trust is the brainchild of Multi Serve, New Zealand’s leading supplier of consulting and other services to schools.

Amongst the new entity’s key priorities will be the funding of research aimed at reducing the disparity of outcomes between New Zealand’s most and least successful students.

“While our school system generally performs to a very high standard, we continue to have a substantial minority of students who fail to benefit adequately from the skills and experience of their teachers. We have an urgent need for more research to help us understand why these disparities exist and how we can best overcome them,” says the Cognition Education Research Trust’s Executive Director, Mary Sinclair.

“The name ‘Cognition’ has been chosen because it summarises the process of acquiring new knowledge and achieving a deeper understanding of existing knowledge, both of which are central to the trust’s concerns.

“Multi Serve has already donated $600,000 to the trust and will shortly be making more available, as part of a long term commitment to providing funding. However, the Cognition Trust will be independent of any particular corporate donor. Our hope is that other companies and benefactors will use the trust to channel money into educational research, in the knowledge that a high-performing school system is vital to New Zealand’s economic success,” she says.

Mary Sinclair adds that the Cognition Trust will also be fully independent of government, allowing it to fund areas of research that are not currently government priorities but that might become so at some point in the future.

Founded in 1989, Multi Serve supplies a wide range of services to New Zealand schooling providers. The organisation works closely with policy makers and researchers and is involved in consultancy work both in New Zealand and overseas.

Multi Serve has charitable status and the net surplus arising from its activities is used to benefit New Zealand’s schools and the young people educated by them. The Cognition Education Research Trust will be one of the primary means whereby Multi Serve honours this commitment in the years ahead.

In association with the launch, Cognition is organising a series of three Education Research Seminars, to be held in Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland on, respectively, the 21st, 23rd and 24th February.

The seminars bring together educational policy makers, researchers and practitioners, in exploring the role of ‘Professional Learning Communities’ aimed at enhancing pupils’ learning. A distinguished team of educationalists from the United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand has been assembled to facilitate the seminars.


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