Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce has appointed former diplomat Charles Finny as the inaugural Chair of Education New Zealand – the new Crown agency established to support and encourage international education.
“A strong, vibrant independent school sector is critical to the success of all New Zealand schools. Independent schools encourage choice, diversity, and innovation and provide an invaluable benchmark on the performance of state schools.
New ways of doing things, new ways of teaching emerge more readily in our independent schools. They are a fabulous source of innovation, ideas and standards. If schools are to succeed they must put each individual student's needs to the forefront of all they do. In my view, our independent schools do this. They have to in order to survive.
It’s too easy in education polity to get bogged down in network issues, matters of public policy, politics and special interest groups. Independent schools keep education refreshingly real with the clear focus on individual students.”
“When my mother saw how well I was doing at school it encouraged her to go to university and to train as an early childhood teacher. Next year we will be at university together.” That was Andrea Kapetini, Endeavour Scholar and Deputy Head Girl of St Cuthbert’s College in 2010. Last year Andrea was one of the 28 Maori and Pasifika students who attend the College as members of the Endeavour Programme, a programme that has changed the lives of students and their families and has had a marked effect on the schools involved.
When asked to reflect on teaching and learning and how things have developed over the past 20 years or so, I recalled two paradigms, which dominated thinking on secondary school organisation and curriculum some 30 years ago.
The first was the commonly held belief in New Zealand Ministry of Education and political circles that effecting any single change in New Zealand Secondary Schools would take about 20 years. Without delving into the reasons for that thinking, because that would take up more words than permitted in this brief, that belief meant that change in curriculum was constrained somewhat in those times. The second which stood out for me was the statement, made proudly by teaching colleagues in France, that at any given time of the school day, the Minister of Education could look at his watch and proclaim that every student in France would now be studying (e.g. Mathematics) at this moment. Vive central control!