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Wise Up: Newsletter From Trevor Mallard

Wise Up. A newsletter from the office of Trevor Mallard, Minister of Education

Issue #54 12 September 2003

CONTENTS

Minister's introduction - Stronger protections for very young international students - Education mission to China - Innovative new schooling for Albany students - New secondary school for Hibiscus Coast - E-learning fellowships for teachers announced - New books to improve literacy teaching - Special education case settled - Tertiary student financial support up for discussion - Government confirms fee and course costs maxima system - Government launches Step Up scholarships

MINISTER'S INTRODUCTION

Along with education sector representatives I recently announced a unique collaborative project that will look at the future of secondary schooling in New Zealand, with the aim of lifting the success of our secondary students.

The four guardians of the Secondary Futures project, who will guide and lead the debate and associated work, were also announced today.

They are Massey University assistant vice-chancellor Professor Mason Durie, teacher and former Silver Fern Bernice Mene, Dunedin businessman Ian Taylor and education specialist Gillian Heald. The guardians will work with the education community on the Secondary Futures - Hoenga Auaha Taiohi project.

Secondary Futures aims to stimulate and share thinking on what secondary schooling should be like in 20 years time and the best ways to improve student outcomes.

After years of change and reform, a clear vision of the role and function of secondary schooling is needed.

The best way for this vision to be created is to try a different approach. Instead of the government and ministers driving the work, the education community, alongside the government, will lead the charge.

I have consulted with the education sector and together we have arrived at a framework that we hope will be open, constructive and inclusive.

Secondary Futures aims to reach a consensus about the issues that really matter when it comes to influencing the successful schooling of our children. It will then decide how schools, teachers, training institutes, families, students and government can build on, or improve, what they do now to move the system forward.

Trevor Mallard

Minister of Education

STRONGER PROTECTIONS FOR VERY YOUNG INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS

Stronger protections are to be introduced for primary and intermediate-aged international students to ensure their wellbeing in New Zealand, Trevor Mallard announced earlier this week.

"I have had on-going concerns about the safety and welfare of primary and intermediate-aged international students studying in New Zealand without adequate parental guidance and support.

"These new measures are based first and foremost on the interests of the child, but they will also serve to further protect our billion-dollar export education industry.

"The Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students will be strengthened further to address these concerns," Trevor Mallard said.

Under the changes: · The New Zealand Government will require that any international student aged 10 or under (or in Years 1-6) live with a parent or legal guardian; and · Providers enrolling international students aged 11 - 13 (or in Years 7 and 8) living without a parent or legal guardian will be required to seek 'prior programme approval' from the Code Administrator (Ministry of Education).

To support the new policy, Immigration Minister Lianne Dalziel said a new guardian visa is being introduced to allow the guardians of young international students to live with and care for their children while they study in New Zealand. This will apply to children aged 17 years and under, and who are enrolled for years 1 to 13 at a New Zealand school.

The Ministry of Education's Report on Research into the Circumstances of Very Young International Students in New Zealand is available on-line at www.minedu.govt.nz/goto/international (under 'Research') or by e-mailing international.unit@minedu.govt.nz.

EDUCATION MISSION TO CHINA

Trevor Mallard will spend 16 hours in China next week meeting with the Chinese Minister of Education and Chinese education officials.

"The aim is to give them reassurances about the quality of education for international students in New Zealand, and the measures we have in place for students' safety," Trevor Mallard said.

The rest of the team - including the chief executives of the Ministry of Education, NZQA and the Education Review Office - will stay on to follow up on those meetings and to take part in a meeting of the China/New Zealand Education Working Group.

"We are also seeking an understanding from the Chinese Government of any further measures that we should consider to provide further reassurances to them."

INNOVATIVE NEW SCHOOLING FOR ALBANY STUDENTS

A new junior secondary school for students from years 7 - 10 is being established as part of an exciting new development in Albany to meet increasing population growth, Trevor Mallard announced on Tuesday.

"This is the first junior high school planned and constructed as a new facility, and I am convinced that this new and different approach to the provision of education in the Albany area will bring significant benefits to future middle and senior school students," Trevor Mallard said.

Students moving on from the junior high school will be catered for at a new senior high school, which will also be established in Albany, ready to enrol students when they graduate from the junior high school.

The Ministry of Education is currently working with Massey University on a proposal to develop a senior high school in association with the Albany campus of the university.

NEW SECONDARY SCHOOL FOR HIBISCUS COAST

A new secondary school for years 7 to 13 is scheduled to open at the beginning of 2005 at Stanmore Bay, Whangaparaoa to meet increasing population growth, Trevor Mallard announced.

The decision to establish a secondary school, for students from year 7 to year 13, follows consultation with existing schools and the local community.

"I'd like to thank all parents, the boards of trustees and Hibiscus Coast residents who participated in the consultation process. I have carefully considered all your views and believe the establishment of this school will be welcomed by parents in the area," Trevor Mallard said.

E-LEARNING FELLOWSHIPS FOR TEACHERS ANNOUNCED

Teachers can now apply for 10 new e-learning fellowships aimed at helping them expand their teaching and learning through Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), Trevor Mallard announced recently.

"Some $4.02 million has been earmarked for these year-long fellowships over the next four years. I believe these fellowships will greatly contribute to national and international research as new approaches to learning through ICT are developed and shared," Trevor Mallard said.

"One of our government's two top education priorities is building an education system that equips people with 21st century skills.

Further information and application forms can be downloaded from the Ministry of Education site www.minedu.govt.nz/goto/elearningfellowship and Te Kete Ipurangi www.tki.org.nz .

NEW BOOKS TO IMPROVE LITERACY TEACHING

Trevor Mallard launched a new teachers' handbook aimed at improving reading and writing teaching in primary school classrooms at Clyde Quay School.

"This book is a key element of the Literacy and Numeracy Strategy. We expect that it will have a significant impact on developing successful reading and writing skills in our children.

"Several recent international surveys show that while many New Zealand students continue to perform well in reading and writing tests, we need to be aware of our increasingly diverse student population and more responsive to those students who are not performing so well," Trevor Mallard said.

Effective Literacy Practice in Years 1 to 4 is based around knowledge of literacy learning.

SPECIAL EDUCATION CASE SETTLED

A settlement has been reached between the government and 14 parents who initiated a legal challenge to the government's Special Education 2000 policy in 1998.

In the intervening time, the long running case has been considered in the High Court and the Court of Appeal.

The parties have agreed that they share the common objective of improving the quality of educational opportunities for children with special education needs. Among other things, under the settlement agreement: q The High Court may make consent orders concerning the unlawful disestablishment of special needs units in 1998; and q Group Special Education will collect and analyse information in each of the 16 special education districts about the ways in which special education resources are currently being used. Information gathered will be used to inform future special education practice and policy.

The exercise will incorporate the views of parents on what they see as effective practices and how they could be more widely applied. Also included in the settlement is the setting up of regular discussion meetings in local communities to get feedback from parents and teachers on special education issues.

TERTIARY FINANCIAL SUPPORT UP FOR DISCUSSION

Associate Education (Tertiary Education) Minister Steve Maharey released a discussion document, Student Support in New Zealand, which sets out to clearly establish the facts on student loans and student allowances.

Student Support in New Zealand aims to build a common base of understanding about the level financial assistance currently available to tertiary students. The document doesn't set out specific changes, as these can only be advanced through the budget process. It sets out to engage students and other stakeholders to provide feedback on what refinements they think should be made to the current system.

"Student support is a significant area of government spending and it's always controversial.

"The government hopes this document can achieve what has not been possible so far in any forum: a common understanding of the operation of the system and of the constraints on the government so that we can work together in identifying the best way forward," Steve Maharey said.

GOVERNMENT CONFIRMS FEE AND COURSE COSTS MAXIMA SYSTEM

The new maximum tuition fee and course costs system, announced as part of the Budget, has been largely confirmed following consideration of public submissions.

Tertiary providers will set their fees within these new rates, with the government anticipating fee rises to be around the level of inflation each year.

>From 2004 the government is setting maximum limits on the tuition fees and course costs that students can be charged. The new system, that covers the years 2004-2006 after which time it will reviewed, replaces the annual fee freeze agreements the government has struck with tertiary providers over the last three years. Indicative rates were announced in the May Budget and have now been confirmed, with some changes, following consideration of the 59 submissions that were received.

Associate Education (Tertiary Education) Minister Steve Maharey said the new system gives students certainty about the fees they will pay over the next three years and provides greater flexibility to tertiary providers when they are setting their fees.

GOVERNMENT LAUNCHES STEP UP SCHOLARSHIPS

Around 500 students will be eligible next year for new Step Up tertiary scholarships as part of the government's moves to improve participation by low income people in tertiary education and the retention of skilled graduates in New Zealand.

Associate Education (Tertiary Education) Minister Steve Maharey and Health Minister Annette King announced the bonded scholarships scheme, worth as much as $43,000 over six years for some students.

Step Up scholarships are being piloted with low-income students studying human and animal health degrees in 2004.

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