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International Summit on the Teaching Profession

Hon Hekia Parata
Minister of Education

19 March 2012 Media Statement
International Summit on the Teaching Profession shows New Zealand is on the right track

The International Summit on the Teaching Profession affirmed the Government is taking the right steps to help teachers deliver 21st century learning skills, says Education Minister, Hekia Parata.

New Zealand was one of 23 countries hosted in New York by US Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, the OECD and Education International to discuss and share ideas about effective school leadership, teacher education and professional development, and the evaluation of teaching.

Ms Parata led a New Zealand delegation comprising of PPTA President, Robin Duff, NZEI President, Ian Leckie, and Principal of Sylvia Park School, Barbara Ala’alatoa.

“Education is recognised as the driver of economic growth and social gain, and we know that it is high quality teaching that delivers students the best possible opportunities to acquire skills and meaningful qualifications,’’ says Ms Parata.

“We are fortunate that New Zealand has invested in a highly competent teaching profession and that we have in place a number of initiatives to ensure our teachers are well equipped to help learners succeed in the 21st century.

“We are making substantial investments in technology which will deliver both digital learning opportunities and, over time, lighten the administrative load.

"We are working on ways to get more good quality teachers into schools that need them most, and we are supporting school leadership capability with our first time principals’ and our aspiring principals programmes’.

“However, with one in five of our students leaving school without qualifications we need to urgently raise achievement. We cannot afford to waste another generation.

“It was clear from the Summit that collaboration across the sector is vital to raising student achievement – that means teachers, principals, unions, parents, communities, business, academia and government agencies working together, taking responsibility and sharing ideas so that successful teaching practice becomes common practice.’’

During her time in the United States Ms Parata also met with several leaders in the international education community including US Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, and education ministers from the top performing nations in our Asia/Pacific region -Hong Kong, Singapore and Korea.

She also met with Associate Professor of Business Studies from the Columbia Business School, Jonah Rockoff, former Canadian Education Minister, Dr Ben Levin, and Larry Berger the CEO and founder of Wireless Generation who is developing education apps which could add another dimension to the way students learn.

“The over-riding theme from those meetings was that there is no one solution to raising achievement. Different things work for different learners so we need to be open to new ideas.”

Ms Parata also visited the EL Haynes Public Charter School in Washington DC, and met with the President of Kunskapsskolan, Margaret Hoey, who is establishing a charter school in New York City.

“Both schools are rising to the challenge of using different learning practices to engage their students and raise achievement,” says Ms Parata.

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