The legislation that governs how education occurs in New Zealand is potentially undergoing a major overhaul. The Education Act, last updated in 1989, is about to be updated by the Government. As part of the way legislation works in NZ, we are now undergoing the first consultation on this update.
This means 6 weeks of public meetings and accepting submissions based upon a discussion document produced by the Ministry of Education. All the details can be found here.
Unfortunately the main discussion points I have heard teachers talking about with this though, is time: 6 weeks is too short, the time of year is ridiculous.
6 weeks seemed pretty short to me too, but my enquiries around this found that this is pretty standard for at this stage of legislation compared to the longer consultation periods during the Select Committee process. Now, I do get this time of year is ridiculous but give me a time of year when teachers aren’t busy? So I was disappointed to attend a local public meeting and find only 8 people there (and then to hear this is common across many of these meetings).
The time of year doesn’t seem to be stopping hundreds of people attending the screenings of Most Likely To Succeed that are happening around the country at the moment:
I can only hope that these people watching and being inspired by this film are going to make a submission on the Act. If we want this style of education to be spread around the country then we should be looking to make that case during the update. The time is right. Education Minister Hekia Parata spoke to GELP in Auckland this week about how inspired she was by this same film:
Deputy Prime Minister Bill English then joined in talking of the need for personalised learning:
Imagine if our Education Act actually had innovation and personalised learning written into it?
This update is investigating shifting the legislation from purely an administrative piece into including Goals for education. We must take the chance to have our say. Personally, I think the goals for education in New Zealand are pretty well set out in the New Zealand Curriculum and Te Whariki but here is our chance to have these put in legislation.
All my thoughts are coming together on this so my submission will be written in the next few days (after my reports are finished!) and I will most likely share the submission on here as well. But there is also 1 other submission I want to help generate – from our students. Who better to say what should be happening in education over the next 25 years as the people who will be most directly affected.
So, please take the chance to submit on this update. Submitting now has more of a chance to shape the legislation whereas submitting during Select Committee rounds will only influence possible tweaks to the legislation.
The deadline is December 14th so we have 17 days left – that is plenty of time so please have your say!