NZ’s Education Decline

Hekia Parata -- Failed her exam?
Hekia Parata — Failed her exam?

Kapiti teacher’s leader gives Ms Parata a ‘fail’ mark

By Alan Tristram

Kiwi students are falling behind the rest of the world in reading, maths and science, a global education report has revealed – so education columnist (and local teachers’ union head) Peter Corlett gives a Kapiti view on why this is so.

It was revealed this week that New Zealand’s education ranking has fallen from 7th to 18th in science, from 12th to 23rd in maths, and from seventh to 13th in reading. (The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Opposition MPs say students are falling behind because teachers are too busy filling in government forms.

But Education Minister Hekia Parata blames the bedding-in of a new curriculum, under-investment in teachers, and poor behaviour in some schools.

Peter Corlett, who is President Kapiti Branch NZEI and teaches in Waikanae, writes to say Ms Parata and the Government have got it wrong….

What about education – WHAT IS IMPORTANT

By Peter Corlett
Kapiti President, NZEI

The issue of National Standards, introduced by the current government in 2010, is one that won’t go away.

The debate continues with voices entrenched on both sides – the Minister who says that they are working, and the rest who are expressing qualified support through to a huge number of educators in total opposition because of the unintended consequences such as the narrowing of the curriculum.

The dilemma the Minister now faces is the news in the last week that a major international study says that NZ is falling in its ranking in Maths, one of the 3 curriculum areas being emphasised, despite her promises that implementing National Standards would improve student achievement.

Despite all this I believe our children have again shown us a different view from the Minister’s – that they can go beyond the focus on numeracy and literacy.

Their focus is instead much broader, and going beyond the four walls of the classroom.

Through the use of Information Technology their world is both bigger and smaller than the world that we were bought up in.

Through the connectedness of the internet they have a more global view of the world. With a click of a mouse they can see what is happening in our region or in an overseas country.  To that extent they have a global view and can be aware of global events.

Duncan Tabor (l) and George Curtis (r) place coins on trail that raised over $270 for Philippines disaster
Duncan Tabor (l) and George Curtis (r) place coins on trail that raised
over $270 for Philippines disaster

While they are resident here in NZ they are never-the-less global citizens, who can be an active, involved participant in the world in which they live.

In this context I see our children actively demonstrating that they have a place as global citizens.

Earlier in the year many children participated in the World Vision 20 – 40 hour famine contributing to PNG, and then this week joining together to run a coin trail to raise $270 for disaster relief in the Philippines

It was great to see children looking at the world map discussing where countries

were, and trying to pick out the Philippines.

I think our children actions can send a powerful message … they want and

need an education that is broader and more relevant that just numeracy and


They want an education that is relevant to the world in which they

live and to be at schools that will help them find their place in the world

as global citizens.


Duncan Tabor (left) and George Curtis (right) from Room 6, surrounded by

students from Room 6 and Room 10  place coins on the coin trail that raised

over $270 for disaster relief in the Philippines.