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Papers Reveal Education System In "Stress"

Papers Reveal Education System In "Stress"

Friday 6 Sep 2002

Briefing papers for the Education Minister bluntly reveal he has run down the schooling system after three years in office, ACT Education Spokesman Donna Awatere Huata said today.

"Today's briefing papers are refreshingly honest - although it would be difficult to hide the fact that our education system is in serious trouble, and has been degraded since Mr Mallard was appointed.

"The Ministry has used this briefing paper to tell the Minister, in an indictment on his time in office, that the "schooling system [is] showing signs of stress and fatigue". It candidly states that "knowledge diffusion and technology transfer are not happening on a scale that will make New Zealand's innovation system thrive".

"The Ministry warns Mr Mallard of "high levels of disparity" in all levels of participation and achievement. Mr Mallard is told "there are still students causing concern, particularly in low decile schools", and that increasingly "some students are being left behind".

"The Minister is also alerted to the fact that "early leaving exemptions from secondary school have been rising significantly" since he came to office - these exemptions are one dishonest way that this Government lifts "overall" performance, by giving difficult students a certificate exempting them from school.

"The Ministry warns of more wage disputes - "wage pressures will be a key issue" - and recommends allowing "opportunities for excellent teachers to progress up the pay scale more rapidly". This advice will not be met with enthusiasm from the Minister, who refuses to even debate dumping the antiquated, centralised, one size fits all pay system.

"This document shows the schooling system is in big trouble, and the Ministry itself is not faring much better - the "Ministry is working with poor financial information, systems and processes".

"I am delighted that the Ministry of Education has been honest enough to alert Trevor Mallard to the real issues. Sadly, I have no faith that this jaded Minister will pay heed to the warnings, or implement a single measure to refresh our "tired" and "fatigued" system," Mrs Awatere Huata said.

Ends


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