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Nats commits to lifting education from doldrums

National commits to lifting education out of international doldrums

Too many children have little hope of participating in the knowledge economy if they aren't literate and numerate, says National Leader Bill English launching National's Education paper "Schools of Excellence".

"There have been some fantastic ideas floated and much discussion over recent years about our potential as a knowledge economy, but the fact is we are near the bottom of the English speaking world when it comes to literacy.

"When I started school New Zealand was number one for literacy, now we are 13th and rank second lowest among English speaking countries. We've got to change this or we have no hope of achieving a knowledge economy.

"My biggest concern for our children's education is the growing disparity between the very poor achievers and those getting top marks - our best achievers foot it with the best in the world, but our worst achievers are among the world's worst.

"We have one of the highest levels of education disparity and that has got to change. National will close that gap by lifting the standard of education through national and regular testing of literacy and numeracy, rewarding and properly training teachers, fairer funding of schools and giving parents and schools more freedom to make choices.

"New Zealand will need every one of its children to be productive and effective as the population ages. National testing will give teachers, parents and the nation a better guide to the progress of our children.

"The centralised bureaucratic model of education, which takes away parents' choices over their children's education, and imposes restrictions on schools, hasn't delivered better achievement.

"It is time our children and our country had a chance at excellence. Through a sound and more open education system National will achieve this," Mr English said.

The paper can be viewed at www.national.org.nz

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