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Students And Teachers Primed For Knowledge Economy

Nearly $14 million will be invested in teacher development, bursary awards and enterprise education over the next three years, Education Minister Nick Smith announced today.

Dr Smith said it was vital for New Zealand's future that our top maths, science and technology teachers were up with the latest developments in their specialist areas and that teachers were encouraged to extend the skills of gifted students.

 Thirty additional full year equivalent teacher study awards will be allocated each year to allow the best maths, science and technology teachers to improve their skills. This will cost about $5 million over three years.

 An extra 30 Maths, Science and Technology Fellowships will be awarded to allow the best teachers to spend time working in research institutions and industry, or undertaking enterprise training. This will cost about $5 million over three years.

 Guidelines will be developed and professional development provided for teaching gifted students.

"Many students study science, maths and technology subjects in the senior secondary school. These subjects make up the foundation of a knowledge economy. We must reward those students who excel in these areas and encourage them to continue their study at a tertiary level," Dr Smith said.

"The creation of more than 1200 new bursary study awards will lift the achievement of all students and encourage and reward the most talented.

Dr Smith announced that:

 Up to 1200 awards of $500 each will be given to the top 3.5% of students in each mathematics and science subject if they continue their studies in these areas at tertiary level.

 Students attaining marks of about 85% or more in each of five Bursaries subjects will receive $2,500, up from $500 currently. Those who reach this level in six subjects will receive $3,000 (up from $1,000), and the top student in each subject area will receive $5,000 (up from $3,000).

 The top overall male and female student, and the top male and female Maori and Pacific Island students, will receive $8,000 (up from $5,000).

Dr Smith said a $1 million contestable pool, over three years, would also be available for enterprise education from January 2000.

"Programmes like the current Young Enterprise Scheme provide valuable insights for our students into how enterprise works and what skills they will need to get ahead in business.

"This fund will encourage more partnerships between enterprise and schools, so students are exposed to the 'real world'.

"Our education system must respond to the challenge of the knowledge age. This package will ensure our children will be the very best they can be," Dr Smith said.

ENDS

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