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ACT'S Two-Point Plan to Solve the Teachers' Strike

ACT'S Two-Point Plan to Solve the Teachers' Strike

Friday 19 Jul 2002

Speech by Hon Richard Prebble, Leader ACT NZ

Massey University, Palmerston North

Friday, 19 July 2002 at 1pm

ACT has a plan to solve the teachers' strike.

Both the government and the unions are wrong. Neither the unions' demand nor the government's offer will solve the problems facing teachers and education.

The real problems facing education are:

* A dumbing down of teachers. Schools cannot get qualified teachers to teach maths and science. The number of teachers with an MA in English has halved in a decade.

* The NCEA, which is replacing School Certificate, is swamping teachers in paperwork.

ACT would immediately allow school boards to negotiate a pay rise to teachers, on merit.

ACT says firstly, for quality education we must pay good teachers more. The teachers' wage award has expired, so negotiating individual contracts requires no law change. The government can do it at once.

Secondly, abolish the NCEA. ACT has made enquiries. There is still time to set School Certificate examinations this year, so pupils won't suffer from this politically-correct experiment.

There are 10 reasons why the NCEA should be scrapped:

1. It is untested anywhere in the world.

2. Our children are guinea pigs.

3. The NCEA has no international standing.

4. The NCEA overloads teachers, leaving little time to teach.

5. The new system is grossly under-resourced.

6. The NCEA dumbs down learning. The test levels are set lower than School Certificate and it is demoralising pupils.

7. The NCEA attempts to compartmentalise knowledge, rather than recognising that different subjects are interconnected.

8. The NCEA is being marked differently by different schools. So we now have no real standards.

9. The NCEA has no marks, so pupils do not know how they are doing. It is meaningless for employers.

10. The NCEA is going to destroy education as an export earner. Overseas students want real qualifications.

Only ACT has opposed the NCEA. National, Labour, NZ First and the Greens have supported this experiment.

ACT says we need world-class education. When 80 percent of teachers who are administering the NCEA say that it is not working, and half say that if it continues they will leave teaching, we have a real crisis.

The union which has backed the social experiment cannot admit that it is the NCEA, not pay, that is making the strike impossible to settle.

Only the election of ACT on Saturday can settle the teachers' strike.


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