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Draft curriculum skewed by big business interests

29 November 2006

Media Release:

Draft curriculum badly skewed by big business interests

A profound shift to narrow capitalist values is signalled in the draft curriculum for schools.

This is evident in the first paragraph on the first page where the “vision” focuses on children being equipped to “contribute to the growth of the economy”. In the next breath the draft declares that the curriculum will aim for children to become “entrepreneurial” – running businesses to make profits. This narrow business agenda then ripples through the entire document.

This insidious infiltration of free-market values into the draft curriculum for schools is outrageous and unacceptable.

It represents a dramatic departure from the current curriculum.

New Zealand children should develop “economic literacy” but it must be broadly based and encourage children to be challenging and critically question any economic system including our own which has led to so much poverty and suffering.

Almost a third of our children grow up in poverty and a large proportion will take up low-paid, part-time jobs for much of their working lives. They need to question and think critically about the economic alternatives to the failure of New Zealand’s economy to work well for people aside from small numbers of wealthy entrepreneurs.

Absent from the curriculum is any mention of other economic possibilities. Such suggestions as work co-operatives, credit unions, trustee banks, profit sharing and trade unions don’t get a look-in.

Using this “entrepreneurial” approach children are already being branded as economic winners and losers when they are at primary school.

Most children will never become entrepreneurs because they are not be interested in doing so and because our economy could not function in this way in any case.

QPEC has circulated a brochure to schools encouraging them to consider this narrow, ideological focus of the draft. The brochure can be viewed at http://www.qpec.org.nz/QPECBrochurev2_web.pdf

The QPEC submission seeks the removal of the term “entrepreneur” from the vision for our kids and argues for it to be replaced with the terms “actively critical” and “challenging”.

ENDS

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