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Treasury should stick to its knitting

20th March 2012

Treasury should stick to its knitting

The education sector union NZEI Te Riu Roa is asking why Treasury is trying to call the shots in education and says it needs to stick to its knitting.

Treasury Secretary Gabriel Makhlouf is singling out student achievement and teacher quality and performance as the key to the country’s success. He says what’s needed is more investment in teachers, better measures to reward them and more robust career progression.

He is also repeating earlier Treasury advice around increasing class sizes and student-teacher ratios in a bid to free up money in education.

NZEI is questioning what expertise Treasury has in trying to shape educational policy.

“It is well known and I think most people would agree that while teacher quality is very important, teacher quality alone cannot raise student achievement as Mr Makhlouf is arguing,” says NZEI National Secretary Paul Goulter.

There are a range of factors which affect student achievement. New Zealand researcher John Hattie says a child’s educational achievement is most closely linked to parental hopes and expectations.

“Treasury would be better to focus on economic solutions to child poverty and inequality. It needs to be looking at how we can ensure children are well fed, well housed and well-clothed so that they are in a position to get the most out of their learning,” Mr Goulter says.

NZEI says teachers want to be involved in making New Zealand’s top performing system even better and ensuring that New Zealand has the highest quality teachers.

“To do that the government needs to listen and take advice from those at the chalkface about how best to build and maintain a quality teaching workforce and raise student achievement. It would be disappointing to see Treasury being relied upon as the experts in education”.


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