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Minister welcomes interest in school curriculum

Minister welcomes Consumer interest in school curriculum

Education Minister Trevor Mallard today welcomed the publication of a second article about the school curriculum in the latest edition of Consumer magazine.

He said the material about what is taught in science and technology in primary schools provided a useful guide to parents, and complemented an article on English and mathematics published by Consumer last year.

“Sometimes, parents are not entirely clear about recent changes to the curriculum, such as the inclusion of technology as an essential learning area,” said Trevor Mallard.

"The curriculum statements are written for teachers and the terminology and education language used in them can be off-putting for other people. These articles provide a plain language approach, and I am sure that they will be especially helpful when they discuss the progress and achievements of their children on occasions such as meet-the-teacher evenings.”

The Consumer articles have been developed with assistance from the Ministry of Education and a range of curriculum experts.

Trevor Mallard said the latest Consumer article raised a couple of interesting issues around the teaching of science and technology.

“In science, some concern is raised about the amount of science teaching that some primary students experience,” he said.

“There is some evidence that even at the year 7 & 8 levels (forms 1 and 2), students have on average only one and a half hours of science a week and that means some students are not properly prepared for secondary level work.

“This may be related to a relative lack of confidence among primary teachers to cover the full range of sciences, including elementary physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy and earth sciences.

“These issues were addressed by the Science and Maths Taskforce which was convened in 1997. As a result, a wide range of new teacher and student science resources have been made available to schools by the Ministry, and more are scheduled.”

In technology, the main issues related to assessment.

“As this is a new curriculum, made compulsory only last year, there is still a long way to go to build up the base of teaching and learning experience that exists in the well established areas like English and mathematics.

“However, the Ministry of Education is supporting classroom-based research work in assessment in technology which is showing great promise and which will feed through into guidance for teachers.”

Trevor Mallard said he was pleased to hear of plans by Consumer to continue its series about what schoolchildren are being taught.


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