ED's Letter: An early Christmas present to the sectorDecember-2015
The compilation of a publication like this – one that collects a range of opinions on a broad topic – always gives pause to reflect on what is top of mind in education circles.
For some, it looks vastly different from how it looks today. Many speak of the need to move away from the current focus on standardisation, assessment and measuring outcomes to a more student-centric approach, one that primes learners for the future world. The maxim about preparing students for ‘jobs that haven’t been invented yet’ crops up often.
For others, the Investing in Educational Success (IES) policy and other initiatives are signs that we are on the right track. Many speak of their pride in various aspects of New Zealand’s education system. Patrick Walsh draws particular attention to “the outstanding contribution of our teaching workforce”.
However, all concede that we are not yet where we need to be. As Claire Amos points out in her contribution, “this period will be looked back on as that uncomfortably pimply pubescent period where we transitioned, painfully and unnecessarily slowly, from an industrial age education system to a more agile knowledge age model”.
The imminent review of the Education Act is therefore timely. The sector has long grown tired and disillusioned with Tomorrow’s Schools and there is a real sense of excitement at the prospect of having the opportunity to bring relevancy to the outdated education legislation.
Among a range of wish list requests, it is hoped that the legislation review will help remove the competitiveness between schools, provide appropriate support for priority learners, and most importantly, address the growing inequality among New Zealand schools.
In the tertiary education space, there is a renewed focus on lifelong learning, with a clear need to see linkages and seamless transitions between schools, tertiary education providers and workplaces. This is driving the need for providers to come up with innovative ways to deliver new models of teaching and learning that play into the ‘anytime, anywhere, anyhow’ gold standard.
All in all, we are delighted with the variety and depth of the insights garnered from the sector for this special Education Review supplement. Please consider it an early Christmas present from us to you as the academic year winds down. We look forward to bringing you more great content throughout 2016.
Jude Barback, Editor