ED's Letter

April 2013


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All a-twitter in education


Sometimes there are simply not enough pages. The education sector has continued to buzz with many of the contentious issues of last year.

Announcing the interim decisions on the fate of the Christchurch schools was never going to be an easy task for the Ministry, and predictably has thrown up some controversy and anger from affected schools and parents along the way. It is a tricky business indeed; principals who are pleased with the progress being taken for their schools or community are reluctant to express this, such is their sensitivity to others whose schools are facing closure.

The rally against charter schools continues with the PPTA again enlisting the help of Karran Harper Royal, a staunch opponent of charter schools, based on her experience of the system in the United States.

And, despite calling in the big guns of Minister Steven Joyce to sort out the Novopay debacle, story after story continues to emerge over teachers not getting paid correctly.

Indeed, teaching appears to be one of the more contentious professions at the moment, and interestingly, in many parts of the country, is one of the hardest to get into. In this issue we take a closer look at the current over supply of teachers and question the Ministry of Education and teacher education providers on how the situation has arisen and what is being done to manage it.

Is it the provider’s job to inform prospective teachers that there might not be a job as a PE teacher waiting for them when they complete their qualification? Or should the onus be placed on the students to assess the market themselves and make their own choices without the big brother guiding hand of the institution? An interesting range of opinions emerge from our discussions with providers.

We also look at the selection processes used by providers to recruit students onto their initial teacher education programmes.

Despite the Ministry’s decision to backtrack on shifting initial teacher education programmes to a postgraduate focus, Massey’s new Institute of Education has forged ahead with its emphasis on research and postgraduate qualifications. The new institute was officially launched in February this year, and we talk to faculty about the directions they see teacher education taking.

In previous issues we have addressed the topic of student underachievement and have heard from many experts on ways to tackle the problem. While concerns about the ‘long tail’ prevail, in this issue we take a look at the provision in schools for students at the other end of the scale, the gifted and talented students. Are our schools adequately catering for the learning needs of these students? We chat to experts, teachers, students and parents to help shed light on this matter, with interesting feedback.

Our next issue is Teach International, but you can stay in touch between issues by following Education Review on twitter (@EdReviewNZ) – we aim to tweet about all that is newsworthy and interesting in the education world.

Jude Barback, Editor
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