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New Zealand Educator speaks at World Congress

State-owned in Godzone: New Zealand Educator speaks at World Congress

A leading New Zealand educator will address the World Congress on Families in Kuala Lumpur today after being invited to speak about the effects of education policy in New Zealand.

Paul Henderson from the Maxim Institute will deliver an address entitled “State-owned in Godzone” in which he argues that the Ministry of Education in New Zealand has increasingly usurped the primary responsibility of parents to direct the education of their children.

According to Mr Henderson, although New Zealand’s compulsory education sector is well financed and its pupils comparatively advantaged, New Zealand’s general performance in reading, scientific and especially mathematical literacy is not as good as it should be. “This in the face of the locally popular belief that New Zealand pupils perform among the best in the world”, says Henderson.

Mr Henderson argues that the state monopoly provision in education is responsible for New Zealand’s unimpressive national academic record and threatens the civil liberties of parents. “The present status quo in primary and secondary education in New Zealand limits the opportunities for families and especially parents, to select the right education for the children, thus violating a basic human right”, he says.

Mr Henderson ends with a number of recommendations for the New Zealand education system including a reassessment of zoning to allow parents greater access to schools and the abandonment of teacher registration in place of training men and women who are competent in their subject. He also advocates greater parental involvement in schooling including the selection and retention of staff and greater trust placed in schools to choose curricula and tests suited to their pupils.

Manager Director of Maxim Institute, Greg Fleming says the invitation to address the World Congress result is significant. “Paul Henderson is nationally recognised as an expert in curriculum development and “values education” and has now been recognised worldwide with the invitation to speak at the World Congress of Families”. Experts in sociology, psychology, health and bioethics are meeting in Kuala Lumpur for the three-day Asia Pacific Family Dialogue where 68 speakers will be presenting papers in 70 sessions discussing the impact of various issues on the family and society.

Paul Henderson’s speech and a full written paper are available on request.

Maxim Institute is a public policy think-tank funded by donations.

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