Consider national education strategy

The chief executive of the New Zealand Catholic Education Office has challenged political parties to consider committing to a national education strategy. 

Writing in an NZCEO e-zine in April, Dr Kevin Shore applauded many aspects of a Literacy, Communication and Maths Strategy and Hei Raukura Mō te Mokopuna launched by Associate Education Minister Jan Tinetti on March 25. 

He was positive about much of the detail, “with its emphasis on a common practice model of teaching, clear sequencing of learning, teacher support at the regional and national level in promoting effective practice, additional support to struggling learners, an emphasis on partnership approaches with the whānau, and continuous evaluation of the delivery and effectiveness of these new approaches”. 

But Dr Shore warned that the strategy would only deliver transformative change “if the necessary resources are applied at the right level and there is a continuing commitment over the long term”.  

“This has proven to be the Achilles heel of many attempts at education innovation, and hence my challenge to our political parties to consider the merits of committing to a national strategy in education,” he wrote. 

Dr Shore stated that “It will take courage and the ability to put the common good of our wonderful young men and women at the forefront, while seeking to put aside personal agendas”.  

“I do not believe that the educational philosophies of our major political parties in New Zealand are so far apart that an agreement on a ten-year national education strategy could not be reached.” 

Dr Shore admitted that there might be some who would disagree with his views,  but added that he would like to think that “living with hope, particularly when serving our young men and women who are our future leaders in society, requires a coherent and consistent commitment to their needs, and is not something that is impossible”. 

In 2020, The New Zealand Herald reported that the latest Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (Timss) showed that Year 9 New Zealand students dropped from a score of 493 in the last survey in 2015 to a score of 482 (ranking 23 out of 39 countries). This is based on a global average of 500, when the surveys started in 1995. In the first survey, Year 9 New Zealand students scored just above 500.  

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