The Education Minister sets out the government’s response to the OECD’s damning report on New Zealand’s education system
There has been a considerable amount of commentary with regard to the OECD’s Programme for International Study Assessment report, which recently saw itself being released by the OECD in that report.
What we do know about the scope of the challenges facing our education system is that there is a need to raise levels of student achievement, in order to ensure that each child is able to reach the potential they are capable of reaching, and we need to support parents and communities to ensure those levels of achievement are achieved.
We have been working hard to raise levels of student achievement, by engaging with sector groups and contributing ideas and hearing from interested persons about how we can better focus our resources to deliver better outcomes to students.
The government is also working hard at establishing excellence in educational achievement, by facilitating dialogue with teachers and communities about the best ways of raising achievement in education. Already we are seeing new methodologies transpiring, as we workshop new learning tools for teachers and students, so that outcomes are enhanced.
We are seeing more opportunities to enhance the showcasing of excellence being undertaken to broaden the scope of the processes we are contributing for schools, and I’m satisfied that if we continue with the range of ideas being generated through consultation with parents and teachers, then student achievement will be one of the deliverables we are able to take away from those engagements.
But we have also been very clear and very comprehensive in what our requirements are for schools, with regard to the standards we expect them to adhere to, and in the broader context of the need to raise learner outcomes.
There is still a lot of work to do in this area with respect to the goal of achieving the required levels of achievement. But we have made good process in a number of key performance area, including with how we measure the measurements we use to evaluate our measurements of student achievement.
I remain committed and focused on how we raise achievement across all student sectors, with respect to the progress we are anticipating we will see.
We need to support those schools that are able to raise the level of student achievement, and work with teachers in those schools to promote and facilitate excellence, while supporting those teachers to support the parents of those children who we are supporting and facilitating through these processes.
I am not ruling out further changes to the curriculum in order to enable a sharp focus to be drawn under the line of educational achievement, in respect of those things that teachers are reporting are a problem and where what needs to be done should be done but in a better way. Let me say now that all options are either on the table or under active consideration, with regard to those matters we are in consultation about.
That’s why we need to keep a firm perspective on the challenges ahead, and why this latest report, while raising issues of interest to those of us in the education sector focusing on student achievement and enhancing learner outcomes, raises issues that will engage our understanding of the challenges we face if we are to lift educational achievement across the board. The actual picture painted by this report is one of acknowledging the supreme importance of the outcomes for education, which I think this report acknowledges in its report, and this is why I think the outcomes reported in the report need to be assessed with regard to those things we can control within the scope of our current policy perspectives and the broader educational environment.
And that’s why I remain confident that the levels of achievement we are committed to focusing our resources on delivering, will in the end result in the outcomes of those students we are focused on committing to being enhanced and improved, insofar as those outcomes are both measurable and achievable within our current educational framework.