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National Standards Hampering Modern Schools

May 20, 2014

National Standards Hampering Modern Schools

National Standards in schools will be rewritten or dropped following an in-depth review, says the Internet Party.

In its draft Modern Schools policy released today, the Internet Party said standards would be fully reviewed by experts, schools, teachers, parents and caregivers, with the aim of modifying or scrapping them.

“National Standards threaten to destroy one of the great strengths of New Zealand's education system – the recognition that children of the same age have different academic abilities and need to learn at the level of their current ability,” said Internet Party chief executive Vikram Kumar.

“According to some assessments, New Zealand is caught up in a global ‘audit culture’ in education, centred on comparisons of student achievement data, which is badly impacting the culture of New Zealand primary schooling.”

The Internet Party will consult with educators, schools and teachers to consider whether new national literacy and numeracy development strategies for years 1-8 are required.

“This will be implemented as a priority, ensuring buy-in from teachers, parents and caregivers,” said Mr Kumar.

The Internet Party also promises to triple the annual funding given to state and state-integrated schools for Information and Communication Technology development, as well as ensuring the rollout of free, fast Internet to schools is completed by the end of 2016.

The funding injection will boost further teacher professional development, fund upgrades of ICT equipment, create learning spaces and deliver better technical support.

“This will ensure there are resources, systems and capabilities for teachers and educators to drive change, taking New Zealand schooling into the future and making our education system student-centred and focused on the individuality of the knowledge age,” said Mr Kumar.

According to the Ministry of Education the total ICT component in 2013 operational funding to state and state-integrated schools is $34.8 million. This is 2.75 per cent of total 2013 operational funding.

“Schools need financial assistance beyond the measly 2.75 per cent of regular operational funding to prepare for digital transformation,” said Mr Kumar. “Therefore, the Internet Party will boost government ICT expenditure by about $75 million per year.”

As well, the Internet Party will immediately initiate a rapid review of Novopay to confirm it is capable of delivering a stable and suitable payment system.

“The Novopay debacle has stretched on far too long,” said Mr Kumar. “Given how important our educators are, the least we can do is make sure they’re paid properly.”

The Internet Party’s draft Modern Schools policy is now online for review and discussion on the policy forum. The work-in-progress Modern Schools policy document is available here.

ENDS

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