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21st Century learning for Kiwi kids

Sue Moroney
Education Spokesperson

10 November 2011

21st Century learning for Kiwi kids

Labour’s education policy recognises children and young people are New Zealand’s future and that every one of them deserves access to quality education, Labour’s Education spokesperson Sue Moroney says.

“That is the touchstone of a fair and prosperous society. Every child, whatever their family’s financial circumstances, has the right to learn in the best possible environment.

“Yet, despite our world-class education system and the dedication of teaching staff, some of our kids are still missing out. They are failing to achieve and they are disengaged. These are often the most vulnerable students – Maori, Pasifika and children from low income families.

“We know technology is one of the most important tools in developing 21st century schools. Mobile devices are now part of the stationery requirements at some high-decile schools.

E-learning has been shown to improve engagement and academic outcomes at those New Zealand schools where it has already been implemented. Labour will invest $75 million over four years in e-learning for Year 7-13 students, targeting low-decile schools that have the capability to deliver an effective programme.

This will enable an average of 31,000 students a year to be provided with an individual mobile device so they can participate in e-learning.

Not being able to access technology, or afford a net book or laptop shouldn’t be an impediment to learning.

To further enhance our top rate education system we need to be making smart use of ICT and connecting our schools and students to the world.

“This initiative will be partly funded by savings of $14.1 million a year as we won’t be continuing with programmes like the private school scholarships for students from low-decile schools. Labour would rather resource the low-decile schools well than send just a few students off to private schools.

This policy has been fully costed and was included in the figures released by Labour last week

Over time, as funding becomes available, Labour would like to roll out a comprehensive and smart e-learning policy across all Year 7 – 13 students. We will continue with the planned roll out of ultra-fast broadband to schools in conjunction with a review of priorities to stem the digital divide.

“Labour will also:

• Protect and retain existing subsidies and fee controls for 20 hours free ECE;
• Provide free high-quality ECE and parent support from 18 months to 3 years for the most vulnerable 5% of our children;
• Restore the funding and target of 100% qualified teachers in early childhood education;
• Support and resource schools to use the NZ curriculum so students have the competencies and knowledge needed to thrive in the 21st century;
• Consolidate the role of school support staff by providing training and working on the viability of centralised funding;
• Establish parent advocates to work alongside parents to engage with teachers, principals and boards of trustees to ensure their needs are being met;
• Support better identification and programme adaptation for gifted children;
• Increase support for the effective implementation of individual plans for students with disabilities;
• Amend guidelines to ensure all schools have an effective anti-bullying programme and provide external multi-agency support for schools in dealing with these issues;
• Boost placements for work-ready students through enhanced Gateway.

“We know an education is not just about memorising facts and figures. Our education policy focuses on modernising teaching and learning for all, so our children are prepared for tomorrow’s world,” Sue Moroney said.

ENDS

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