1 Oct 2012

Overseas experts criticise education policies

4:45 pm on 1 October 2012

International experts have criticised the Government's education policies at the annual conference of the primary teachers' union the New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI) in Rotorua.

The specialists, from Australia and Finland, say they agree with the union that policies on national standards, charter schools and league tables do not work.

The OECD ranks Finland in the top four developed nations for education performance along with Japan, Canada and South Korea.

Pasi Sahlberg from Finland's Ministry of Education says none of these countries has policies like national standards, charter schools or league tables.

He says his country got to the top of the rankings doing the opposite of what is now happening in New Zealand.

Time to end the arguing, says minister

Australian Education Union president Angelo Gavrielatos says publishing schools' results in narrow measures like reading and writing will increasingly segregate schools and make it harder to address underachievement.

Education Minister Hekia Parata told the conference on Sunday that the Government's policies will improve the education system. She said it was time to end political arguing and get into the common cause of making a difference to all children's education.

However NZEI president Ian Leckie says it is unlikely teachers will come around to the Government's way of thinking. "We've got some very different views about what is going to make the biggest difference in New Zealand education," he said.