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UF Policy: An Education with Character

Friday, 18 March 2005

UF Policy: An Education with Character

United Future education spokesman Bernie Ogilvy and party leader Peter Dunne say it’s high time that the government actually did something more than merely paying lip-service to the 1993 Curriculum Framework, which states that attitudes and values, along with knowledge and skills, are an integral part of the school curriculum. Announcing new election policy today, the two men said United Future would ensure that all schools implement an integrated character education programme.

“Character education is about incorporating universal values such as honesty, respect for others and the law, tolerance, fairness, caring and social responsibility into a school’s culture. “These programmes are established in full consultation with parents and staff and have worked successfully in a number of schools around the country.”

Mr Ogilvy said United Future would also ensure that secondary schools take an integrated approach to life skills by establishing it as a separate subject, to include segments on career planning, health, sexuality and relationships, drugs, budgeting advice, civics education, parenting skills, and driver education.

Establishing a catch-all subject to address these matters should help to minimise the disruption to the rest of the curriculum that occurs when schools are asked to take on responsibility for teaching these skills on an ad hoc basis. United Future will also:

- Require education programmes dealing with risk-taking behaviour in adolescence (e.g. drugs, alcohol and sex) to present abstinence as a genuine option, rather than the current focus on ‘harm minimisation’ that does not respect the ability of our children to make sensible decisions and is often in conflict with the law.

- Implement a comprehensive education strategy relating to all aspects of the use and misuse of drugs, and ensure that all schools teach drug education.

- Work with schools to ensure that they remain drug-free by promoting treatment options in concert with punishment for drug offences.

- Undertake a campaign to promote academic role models amongst youth, but particularly targeted at boys.

- Expand the Social Workers in Schools Programme.

ENDS

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