The irony may have escaped most of those who voted Labour in 2017.
Particularly teachers (who reckon the government is penny-pinching in limiting a pay offer to them to $700m over four years). No generosity there — but back in the days of the election campaign Labour was very generous in offering free tertiary fees for first year students.
So how has that worked out?
Finance Minister Grant Robertson revealed this week that in his drive to cull $1bn of low-priority spending, $200m allocated to the fees-free policy in the education vote, but not spent, has been transferred — but no, not to meet the teachers’ demands. It will be devoted to reforms in the vocational education sector. Continue reading “Fees-free policy perhaps attracted more voters to the polls than students to universities”
If Education Minister Chris Hipkins is overcome by an urge to join his cabinet colleagues in overseas travel but doesn’t have a good reason, we suggest he visits a state school in one of London’s poorest boroughs.
Forty-one of this school’s students have been offered a place at Oxford and Cambridge this year.
This rivals the admission rates of some of the top-performing private schools across the UK, according to the BBC
Brampton Manor is a state school in Newham in east London.
Nearly all of the students who received Oxbridge offers are from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds; two-thirds will be the first in their families to attend university.
Half of them are on free school meals. Continue reading “Why Hipkins should study the formula for a London state school’s remarkable academic success”
The political “kindness and empathy” which the Ardern coalition government has patented as its trademark doesn’t seem to be making much headway with the teachers’ union. Which is ironic in many ways.
Latest reports say primary and intermediate teachers and principals have “overwhelmingly” rejected the government’s latest pay offer , on the grounds, it’s said, it will not fix the industry’s staffing “crisis”.
About 30,000 New Zealand Educational Institute Te Riu Roa (NZIE) union members voted on what was the third round of offers, in a secret online ballot. NZIE president Lynda Stuart said the message from members was that the offers did not do enough to fix the crisis in teacher recruitment and retention.
“The big concern for members was that the offers had nothing that would give teachers more time to teach or principals time to lead.” Continue reading “Teachers want ‘crisis’ resolved – then exacerbate it with their intransigence”
Sorry – but did we hear that correctly?
Sadly, we did. According to an RNZ item in the midday news, students won’t be penalised for not knowing the meaning of “trivial” when they bumped into the word – apparently for the first time – in a history exam.
The chair of the History Teachers Association, a bloke by name of Graeme Ball, was quoted as saying he welcomed this news from the NZQA..
But perhaps we should not be too surprised. The first objective on the list of his association’s aims is to “promote and encourage the teaching of history”.
The teaching of the English-language component of the three R’s obviously is somebody else’s problem. Continue reading “Just a trivial misunderstanding – history students’ ignorance won’t be penalised by NZQA”
So who do you feel sorry for: primary school teachers who say they are undervalued, underpaid and overworked?
Or Education Minister Chris Hipkins, who is “disappointed” teachers are going on strike, despite the government’s “strong new offer”.
Political aficionados might find some irony in the whole affair. Teachers were desperate for the Labour Party to win the Treasury benches, knowing it would be a relatively soft touch after nine years of a flinty-faced National government.
And Hipkins early in his term sought to cosy up to the teachers’ union by bending to their demand that charter schools be abolished.
Continue reading “After expelling the charter schools, Hipkins is pressed to do better on teachers’ pay”
The looming teachers’ strike poses a real headache for the Ardern government. In throwing down the gauntlet to Education Minister Chris Hipkins, the teachers’ union has talked of a “crisis” in the schools, a desperate shortage of teachers, and of principals “in tears” with the stress of trying to ensure there is a teacher in every classroom.
Hipkins says he is disappointed, but not surprised, that primary teachers will strike again.
The government has raised its initial bid of an increased 2.2% to 2.6% a year to 3% a year over the next three years but the the gap between this and what the teachers are demanding remains wide. Continue reading “$5bn surplus divided among 17,000 teachers – it’s not so simple when Robertson becomes involved”
Education Minister Chris Hipkins perhaps has been too busy to notice, but the Ontario government has determined it should force post-secondary schools to discipline students who interfere with “free speech.”
If this be so, we recommend the Minister ask someone to brief him on overseas government responses to publicly funded universities which constrain freedom of speech and academic freedom.
Come to think of it, he might also get a staffer to advise him on how to answer questions we put to him last month about the apparent breach of the legislation which governs New Zealand universities when Don Brash was banned from speaking at Massey University.
In Ontario, Premier Doug Ford’s office is dealing with this sort of campus carry-on by requiring all colleges and universities that receive government funding to publish a “free speech policy” by January 1. Continue reading “Ontario has a lesson for NZ on how to deal with universities which constrain freedom of speech”
Unitec, the country’s largest industry training provider, is giving the government a $50 million headache as it struggles to resolve a host of issues. But it is not the only problem in the tertiary education sector: ministers are wrestling with similar issues at Lincoln University.
Lincoln’s student numbers are down and James McWha, ex Massey, has been appointed to manage the place while a long-term solution is found. Several universities, including Otago and Massey, are contemplating a take-over.
A cheaper, faster solution might be to restore it as Lincoln College, a constituent college of Canterbury University, returning Lincoln to its roots as a high-end agri-business, food and plant technology institution. But that’s all too obvious and Lincoln may slip through Canterbury’s hands without a sustained effort from Christchurch itself, led by Mayor Lianne Dalziel. Continue reading “Unitec is the immediate challenge – but Lincoln University poses problems too”