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Minister of Education compromises senior OECD official

QPEC Release: Minister of Education compromises senior OECD official

The Quality Public Education Coalition is concerned that an OECD official's integrity and independence has been compromised by New Zealand’s Minister of Education, Hekia Parata.

Hekia Parata's list MP webpage boasts a four minute video of Dr Andreas Schleicher, the OECD’s Deputy Director for Education and Skills, appearing to endorse the ‘Investing in Educational Success’ policy.

Dr Schleicher, the senior OECD official in charge of the PISA testing regime, seems to have been duped to provide partisan support for the National Party in an election year.

The value of the PISA programme since its inception has been in its practice of identifying broad non-partisan global education policy options for consideration and application by member countries according to their local educational histories, cultures and priorities.

For many years visiting OECD officials have endeavoured to endorse the best elements in existing national education policy and practice and to make recommendations for beneficial change that are most likely to obtain majority support from across the political spectrum. It is unfortunate that Dr Schleicher, through design or ignorance, has apparently been persuaded to comment on New Zealand’s domestic education policy matters without understanding the controversies that exist around policies such as Investing in Educational Success, National Standards and performance pay.

In the highly-scripted video clip, Dr Schleicher discusses the Investing in Educational Success policy only in generalities, in an abstract, non-contextualised way that evokes the best of all worlds.

He does not mention how the policy was announced by the National government without prior consultation and does not refer to the many problems raised by the policy.

There is increasing concern amongst New Zealand teachers, principals and academics that the Investing in Educational Success policy is unsound. QPEC expects the OECD will be embarrassed by the party political use of the video and doubts Dr Schleicher will be recommending such a divisive approach to education policy development to other OECD member states.


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