Concerns that revised education bill has ignored submissions

2017

'Utterly shambolic' and 'disappointed' were among the Facebook reactions to yesterday's release of the revised Education (Update) Amendment Bill. The comments are indicative of concerns that submissions were not taken into account in updating the bill and that the legislation, as it currently stands, is a missed opportunity to improve New Zealand's education system.

Children at schoolThe Education and Science Select Committee released the updated version of the Education (Update) Amendment Bill after considering the submissions and proposed changes relating to the bill.

The updated version fine-tunes and clarifies clauses around the National Education and Learning Priorities (NELP), communities of online learning (CoOLs), cohort entry, communities of learning (CoLs), special character schools, combined school boards of trustees and merging Careers New Zealand into Tertiary Education Commission. It includes the prohibition of seclusion rooms.

Opposition parties Labour, Greens and NZ First have all expressed their disapproval of the bill in its current form. The Labour Party says it “represents a missed opportunity to engage the whole community in meaningful educational reform”.

“The case has not been made for many of the changes that have been proposed, and the majority of feedback we heard from the 216 submissions received on the bill has been ignored.

“The Education (Update) Amendment Bill refines an education system that was well suited for the 20th century, and does little to bring the system into the 21st. The overwhelming focus continues to be on standardisation and accountability, rather than diversity and creativity.”

The Green Party also opposes the bill viewing it as “a contribution to the ongoing privatisation of the public education system”. It says the failure to consult children and young people on the issues raised in the bill represents an outdated approach to education.

Secondary teachers’ union says the Government has ignored evidence and expertise and missed an opportunity to improve schools and education for New Zealand’s young people.

President Jack Boyle takes particular exception to the clauses around the communities of online learning (CoOLs).

“The abundant evidence that full-time online schools fail children has been completely ignored. The Bill also opens the door for corporates to take over educating New Zealand’s children and young people. Teachers, parents and students themselves know that you can’t just take business principles and apply them to education,” he says.

The Education and Science Select Committee’s report and amended bill can be found here: http://bit.ly/2nBDcuU.


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