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Forum aims at the right pathway to suit learner needs

Forum aims at the right pathway to suit learner needs and life goals

New Zealand’s largest forum on supporting pathways, transitions and bridges for learners to tertiary education opens today (Day 1) with a joint ministerial address from the Minister of Education, Hon Hekia Parata and the Hon Steven Joyce – Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment. Day 2 will commence with an opening address from Grant Robertson, Labour Party Spokesperson for Skills, Employment and Training and Chris Hipkins – Labour Party Spokesperson for Education.

This annual forum, now in its fourth year, explores how well New Zealand supports young people to make informed decisions about their future and succesfully move into higher and further education and into employment. It is founded on the need for cooperation across sectors, between organisations, and involving both policymakers and educators. It is one of the few events that brings together people from both secondary and tertiary education sectors.

Over the two days, teachers, principals, and academics will sit alongside representatives from professional groups, industry bodies, and government officials, and discuss how to create the best possible transitions for young people.

The forum’s first international keynote, Dr Marisa Saunders of the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University in the US, will follow the joint ministerial address on day 1 with a presentation on Linked Learning. This innovative approach to senior secondary education involves strong links between schools and employers to create ‘real life’ learning environments. Dr Saunders, who has written extensively on transitions in the United States, will share the experiences of schools implementing this approach, including their strategies and struggles.

Following the joint Labour Party address on Day 2, Professor Hamish Coates of the Centre for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Melbourne will challenge delegates to consider whether we are providing students with the best support once they enter tertiary education. A specialist in assessment and evaluation, Hamish focuses on improving the quality and productivity of learning, academic work and leadership. He is a highly distinguished education academic in, having held such positions as international director of the OECD Assessment of Higher Education Learning Outcomes (AHELO) Feasibility Study and national director of the Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF).

The forum will also include panel discussions and sessions on successful transitions for Māori and Pacific learners, updates on government support for transitions including youth guarantee, cross-sectoral action in Christchurch, vocational pathways and trades acadamies, and the new strategic vision driving Careers New Zealand.

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