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Curriculum blighted with "entrepreneurial" vision

7 November 2007

Media Release:

New school curriculum blighted with inclusion of "entrepreneurial" in its vision

We are deeply concerned the term "entrepreneurial" has been included in the new school curriculum despite large numbers of submissions on the draft curriculum called for its exclusion. (The present curriculum refers to the generic term "enterprising" while the new curriculum talks about "enterprising and entrepreneurial")

This is a first in New Zealand and is a serious retrograde step.

It represents the power of the business lobby which has mounted a well-resourced attempt to skew the curriculum to reflect narrow capitalist values. Business New Zealand welcomes the curriculum and it's easy to see why.

Entrepreneurial has a specific meaning which is running a business to make a profit. This is included in the curriculum but such things as the running of co-operatives, credit unions, trustee banks, profit sharing or trade unions are excluded.

New Zealand children should develop "economic literacy" but it must be broadly based and encourage children to be challenging and critically question any economic system including our own which has led to so much hardship and suffering.

Almost a third of our children grow up in poverty and a large proportion will take up low-paid, part-time jobs for much of their working lives. They need to question and think critically about the economic alternatives to the failure of New Zealand's economy to work well for people aside from small numbers of wealthy entrepreneurs.

The place of business values has been toned down in the new curriculum compared to the draft released last year and this is welcomed by QPEC. However the reservations we expressed then remain.

Elsewhere we are pleased the Treaty of Waitangi has been returned to its rightful place in the curriculum. It was a shameful response to bigotry which saw it omitted.


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