The government has reversed its plans to increase class sizes after a determined campaign by teachers, parents and other educational sector interest groups. Their own polling must have led them to this decision but I believe they have merely put the idea on hold.
They claim that they wanted to improve the quality of teaching and very few of us would disagree with that. How they were going to achieve this goal though is less clear. They now have an opportunity to engage with the relevant parties and to listen and come out a consensus about what and how this should be achieved.
Unfortunately one gets the distinct impression that the Government, namely Paramata and Key will come to this discussion with ruffled feathers and not genuinely engage. They are still driven by ‘treasury’ which limits their scope and vision.
Teacher groups are as concerned about teacher quality as the Government. No one wants students leaving school, ill-equipped to face the world of work. Such an outcome seriously affects NZ’s ability to function in a competitive world. We need to raise the standard for entry into our training institutions and make entry level pay more attractive. Teachers entering our schools also need to be far more techno-savvy, to build on a well-balanced understanding of the skills they will need to impart to their students.
Once the Government licks its wounds it must come back to the table and start listening to more than their tame lackeys and take on a much wider view from a pool of experts that NZ is renowned for.