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Secondary education and the economic recovery

Media Release
3 August 2009

Secondary education and the economic recovery

The government is on the wrong track cutting teacher staffing, when other countries are investing in education as a pathway out of the recession, PPTA president Kate Gainsford says.

A new report released by the PPTA - Secondary education and the economic crisis: building the educational infrastructure for recovery- shows how dangerous a move this would be.

Gainsford said the paper would provide the government with a plan to enable secondary schools to support a recovery when economic circumstances begin to turn.

“We are really supportive of the government’s investment in broadband and school buildings, but it needs to think about the intellectual infrastructure as well.”

The paper contrasts what overseas governments are doing to assist the education sector through the economic crisis with New Zealand’s response.

For example, the US stimulus package allocates some US$100 billion in aid for public schools, including US$40 billion to prevent layoffs and funding for college support and new buildings. There is heavy investment in initiatives intended to elevate the teaching profession and retain teachers.

“They recognise that the senior students in schools today are the post-recession workforce. Our government on the other hand plans to save $50 million a year from 2011 by cutting teacher numbers – forcing these students into larger classes with fewer resources,” she said.

The paper also stressed the importance of ACE (adult community education) programmes in times of high unemployment.

“ACE is useful to workers who lose jobs in low skill areas, allowing them to upgrade their skills or learn entirely new practical skills and thus become more employable and more effective workers.

“The government should review its decision to can night classes in light of evidence of their contribution to the economy.
“ACE in schools offers second chance learning and should be utilised for retraining the unemployed,” she said.

The paper promotes high quality education for all as an economic and social necessity.

“Targeted, considered and managed investment in education now has the potential to save the New Zealand taxpayer millions of dollars in the future.

Copies of the paper have been sent to government representatives and can be found on the PPTA website: www.ppta.org.nz

ENDS

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