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Technology education gets a $6million boost

4 April 2005 Media Statement

Technology education gets a $6million boost

A new $6 million initiative to help support, develop and promote outstanding examples of technology education in secondary schools has been launched by Associate Education Minister David Benson-Pope.

"We want to take projects and practice that have been identified as exciting and valuable, work with schools at developing them still further, and then share this knowledge with every school in the country," said Mr Benson-Pope.

“New Zealand needs more students to be better prepared for tertiary study and careers in technology. We need to ensure we have young people training in areas that will ease New Zealand’s current skill shortages, and help our economy grow."

The largest project and one of the first to start will be Beacon Practice. Thirteen Schools from around New Zealand with innovative technology programmes have been selected to receive extra funding and professional support as part of the initiative. Beacon Practice teachers will be supported in their schools by a Professional Support Facilitator, who will work alongside teachers. This facilitator will coach, model and mentor the teachers, along with outside help from industry and tertiary experts. The results will then be shared with secondary schools around New Zealand.

"It is about helping to enhance the quality and effectiveness of teaching and learning in secondary schools, with the aim of inspiring young people with the possibilities of a future career in technology," said Mr Benson-Pope.

"Contributing to the professional development of staff across the education sector is an important focus for the Government. We will spend over $67million dollars this year helping teachers and principals further advance their skills and knowledge. That is a 125 per cent increase in funding since 1999. We believe the investment is well worth it."

Beacon Practice is part of the Government’s Growth and Innovation Framework (GIF) - Technology strategy, with a long-term aim of delivering long-term sustainable growth to improve the living standards of New Zealanders.

Schools taking part in the Beacon Practice project are: Queen Margaret College (Wellington), Wellington College, Wellington High School, St Patrick's College (town), Gisborne Girls' High, Lytton High School (Gisborne), Katikati College (BOP), Hillcrest High School (Hamilton), Mount Maunganui College, Havelock North High School, Tararua College, and St Margaret's College, Christchurch.

Beacon Practice background information:

Why Beacon Practice?
The overall aim of Beacon Practice is to raise the quality and effectiveness of teaching and learning in senior secondary school technology courses – and so increase student participation. The aim is to build teacher capability in technology education through a focus on quality teaching, innovative environments and supportive relationships. It also aims to improve the alignment between secondary and tertiary technology education, and encourage more interaction with the ‘enterprise’ community.

How Will It Work?
The basic premise behind Beacon Practice is that teachers who currently demonstrate best practice can enhance this even further with external support. Participating schools are provided with funding to release teachers from the classroom and provide outside facilitation and support. Beacon Practice teachers will be supported in their schools by a Professional Support Facilitator, contracted by the Ministry of Education, to work alongside teachers. This facilitator will coach, model and mentor the teachers to thoroughly embed beacon practice in technology inside the schools. Teachers will also be assisted in many instances by professional technologists from industry and tertiary institutions.

Cliff Harwood from Massey University College of Education has been contracted by the Ministry to carry out this role of Professional Support Facilitator over the next two years. Longer-term case studies and additional resource material will be developed to help all schools improve the quality of teaching and learning in their technology education programmes.

The 2005 project involves 13 schools in, Katikati, Tauranga, Hamilton, Gisborne, Havelock North, Pahiatua, Wellington and Christchurch across 7 initiatives.

Government committed to ICT in schools:
The Labour Government has made a substantial commitment to Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in the schools sector. This year alone the government will spend around $72million providing ICT – that's a 104 per cent increase in spending from five years ago when Labour came to office.


Find Out More:
You can read about what each of the schools is planning via the Techlink website: www.techlink.org.nz

ENDS

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