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The education mess

Written By: - Date published: 9:32 am, October 9th, 2017 - 20 comments
Categories: national, schools, tertiary education, useless - Tags: , , , ,

The complete mess that National has made of our health system got plenty of airtime during the election campaign. While it received less coverage, the education system is a mess too. RNZ this morning:

Tertiary enrolments fall as cost of living rises

Tertiary enrolments have reached their lowest point in more than a decade amid rising costs and a lack of financial support, the Union of Students Associations says.

The president of the Union of Students’ Associations, Jonathan Gee, said lack of financial support for students was behind the declining participation rate.

“The cost of living, that’s a big issue at the moment in terms of rent costs – 40 percent of tertiary students live in Auckland, you imagine the high rent costs they have to pay. There is rising costs, yes there’s always been student debt, but student support is failing to keep up with those rising costs,” Mr Gee said. …

How stupid does a government have to be to cut the legs out from under tertiary education? In 2017 FFS. Meanwhile in schools:

Teachers’ unions warn strikes over pay likely in 2018

Teachers’ unions are warning strikes are likely as they push for pay rises of up to 14.5 per cent.

Union leaders were determined to press ahead: “It’s time to get serious about giving our children the best education in the world and to focus on what’s really going to make a difference,” NZEI president Lynda Stuart said.

A PPTA paper said the top of the teacher pay scale needed to grow by 14.5 per cent, from $75,949 to $86,967, to restore top teachers to the same relative wage they earned in 2002.

Details on the decline in teachers’ wages and the crisis in teacher numbers here.

Then there’s our ongoing decline international comparisons (Dumbing down a generation: Performance of NZ schoolchildren plummeting) the multiple rorts going on in the private education sector, and so on and so on.

The next government inherits a complete mess in education.

20 comments on “The education mess”

  1. dv 1

    AND what about Auckland!!!

  2. Ed 2

    Tracy Martin will be key.

    • savenz 2.1

      +1 – Tracy Martin is great, to try to solve the self inflicted mess that the National party has done to our previously world class education system. Labour’s education policies are also very good – pity they were not highlighted in the election, apart from tertiary.

      Even Auckland University has fallen in world university rankings under the National party.

      Lets hope NZ First picks the right partners to u turn National’s appalling reign of incompetence and dogma in the education sector.

  3. savenz 3

    Under A National led Government the New Zealand’s public education system came under heavy attack:

    $35 million gifted to private schools (4% of students).
    $25 million slashed from the Education Ministry (according to assessments it is the worst performing ministry).
    Introduction of new curriculum abandoned and National Standards implemented without trial, against advice and with limited consultation (legislated into law).
    Cost of repairing leaky school buildings over $1.2 billion (after National’s de-regulation of building industry in 1991).
    $400 million wiped from the early childhood budget and the target for qualified teachers dropped to 80% (many centres operating at 100% had massive budget cuts).
    Curriculum narrowed to literacy and numeracy and all other advisors sacked(Science, Technology, Arts…).
    The expectation that schools provide healthy food wiped to allow commercial interests into schools again to sell processed food and fruit in schools scheme slashed.
    Funding for technology teachers in intermediates cut.
    Class sizes over 1:27, 6 more than the OECD average
    Health camps closed.
    Residential schools for behavioural needs closed (one illegally).
    Schools who questioned Standards were threatened with having boards and principals sacked and had PD withheld.
    Christchurch school closures are poorly managed and questioned by an ombudsmen and found wanting by a court decision.
    New Education Ministry head employed from UK with a background in Charter Schools and limited knowledge of New Zealand system.
    Novopay signed off and implemented without a proper trial despite having 147 software faults. Schools are having to devote hours of time every week to deal with past and ongoing problems.
    Charter Schools introduced despite no evidence of need and are given afinancial advantage over public schools. The Civilian’s satirical take on Charter Schools is actually not far from the truth.
    Private schools capture special needs funding over low decile schools.
    Hekia Parata remains in Ministerial role despite poor performance and little respect from the public or the education sector.
    After five years under National, New Zealand’s international ranking plummets to as low as 23rd.
    Internationally regarded research reveals New Zealand schools are suffering serious harm under the National Standards regime.
    The Prime Minister announces that $359 million will be spent on Executive Principals and Teachers who are successful in raising achievement in National Standards. Many question why the money is supporting a corporate management system and isn’t being spent directly to help children with high needs.

    https://saveourschoolsnz.com/2014/03/17/the-list-what-national-has-done-to-new-zealand-education/

    • Introduction of new curriculum abandoned and National Standards implemented without trial, against advice and with limited consultation (legislated into law).

      I would almost like legislation that prevented a government doing things like that. Require that things to be legislated for had research and/or real life examples backing it. If, like charter schools and National Standards, the evidence was against them then they just don’t get introduced.

      The ministries would then have to become the hotbeds of research that we need.

      The expectation that schools provide healthy food wiped to allow commercial interests into schools again to sell processed food and fruit in schools scheme slashed.

      I would like to see a ban on government services provided for profit. Experience over the last thirty years tells us that it just costs us more while getting worse service.

      • Annie Cass 3.1.1

        Amen Draco!! Unitec’s slash and burn approach to staff management, and the puzzling decision to recruit businessmen rather than academics for positions like Dean of School (the current Dean of Business is still working on his Masters, whereas usually somebody in his position has at least one Phd and a number of subsidiary degrees as well as a long publication record in his particular academic field) has resulted in a five-year wage freeze, a mass exodus of the best-qualified teachers (told they were no longer wanted, so please accept this “generous” redundancy package) and (not unrelated!!!) student numbers in freefall. The crash in profits resulting from that has got some of the senior administration thinking, just a bit, and some of their sillier moves have been reconsidered. For instance, handing enrollment registration to student part-timers after sacking the ladies and gentlemen in the office who knew what they were doing proved unwise. Now they’re trying to re-hire those they sacked.
        And it’s not just Unitec’s problem. The blind faith in The Market has resulted the world over in a profound disrespect for expertise not directly related to the making of money in those sectors of society to which neo-Liberal governments listen, and this shows up in any government decision-making relating to science and knowledge. Education gets it in the neck, as meddlers from Ministry level down try (and fail) to make education serve the short-term, present needs of current industry. This fails because it tracks a moving target, and in any case it effectively tries to put a roof on a house with few foundations, as core skill sets are cinderella’d and starved of money and time in favour of trendier agendas and much more monitoring of teachers, who are now expected to pass students who come to school hungry and cold and therefore unable to learn. At tertiary level lecturers have to cope with students who are malnourished, sick, or absent either because they can’t afford transport to class or are working paid jobs that clash with class times. And the TEACHERS are penalised if such students fail, because, somehow, it’s THEIR fault!!!
        Yes, I’d like evidence-based decision making to be mandatory in Parliament very much, please, particularly in relation to education.

        • millsy 3.1.1.1

          UNITECH’s situation is exactly why simply getting rid of tuition fees isnt going to fix all that is wrong with tertiary education.

    • Janice 3.2

      There was also the axing of night school funding, preventing many people from having a second chance.

  4. Sparky 4

    Yes and in spite of the huge pile of taxes my wife and I have to cough up our school still has to ask us for over $300 per year. Not their fault at all but shows how the “hidden” double tax system works in grubby little NZ.

    • tc 4.1

      That sounds small as my grandkids are constantly bringing home requests for this and that and they’re in in a high decile public primary school on akl’s North Shore.

      It’s far from hidden as the schools constantly pointing the finger at ‘lack of funding’, ‘no longer funded’ or my personal favourite ‘No longer in cirriculum but we feel it’s of value so…..’

      A snip here, a cut there…..

  5. There is rising costs, yes there’s always been student debt, but student support is failing to keep up with those rising costs,” Mr Gee said. …

    Is he’s truly that ignorant or is he’s outright lying?

    There hasn’t always been student debt. Students didn’t have to borrow to live or for student fees (because there wasn’t any) before. That’s a fairly new creation of neo-liberalism.

    How stupid does a government have to be to cut the legs out from under tertiary education?

    All governments have been doing that for the last 20+ years so that the rich could have tax cuts.

    Our new government has either promised more tax cuts (National) or not raising of taxes (Labour) so don’t expect things to get better soon.

  6. tracey 6

    CEO of Unitec has been saying for some years (every July in his BS speech at Kickstart where fewer and fewer staff attend each year) that enrolments are down because the economy is so good… until now though it has only been Unitec’s enrolments dropping so it was nothing to do with the economy.

    FYI when Unitec removed the free lunch for the Kickstart programme (2 days of telling Teachers how to suck eggs) attendance numbers plummeted… sick of hearing him talk about the same things over and over year after year while all around crumbles.

    • Keith 6.1

      People are not enrolling for higher education because the economy is doing so well???

      Seriously, who the hell believes that kind of Nat propaganda?

      • tracey 6.1.1

        The Heads of tertiary Institutions who love their ideology?

        Enrolments do drop when employment is very low but that is not where we are.

  7. Keith 7

    The complete mess National have made of the health system was covered, in part, by the media but Labour, in their polite, positive campaign didn’t really go near it.

    For those who because of age or luck have little to do with the health system, they would not have a clue and National would rather you think everything is just fine.

    I don’t know if it was pure coincidence or deliberate planning but under National, there have been some substantial efforts made to ensure the front entrances of hospitals, such as emergency response areas, have been done up and spiffingly modernised. But behind the facade, things are quite different. It is a service, that like every other public service has had the meat cut to the bone in “efficiencies”, (code word for budget slashing) leaving fewer workers to carry the can for ever more demands with less money to do so. It is breaking, just like education, just like police, just like child welfare services etc, etc.

    Labour missed a golden opportunity to tell voters that tax cuts deliver a mess like the one in health and then carefully and relentlessly push the message home with all the ammunition National supplied. They missed it, seemingly unaware what is happening.

    So no, National got away with the facade and with the Green Party imploding and NZ First strangely obsessed about other things, no one really bothered with what is a major problem.

  8. Cinny 8

    Thank you so much for making a dedicated post about the mess national has made with education, the current system is choking everyone from students to teachers.

  9. Once was Tim 9

    The bizzniss of education! How’s it all working out now?

    • savenz 9.1

      Excellent if you want a low wage dysfunction society with a lot of mentally ill people and public money siphoned off into real estate and non educators pockets.

      To quote someone else about a user pays education.

      It helps the rich and the thick.

      • Once was Tim 9.1.1

        but… but…. just think of the growth @savenz. Vic Uni is expanding at vast pace with student accommodation facilities that now extend into a sizeable portion of Wellington City proper, and its environs. It’s a win win situation for all ffs!
        You must be a ‘glass half empty’ kind of guy (/sarc, needless to say).

  10. beatie 10

    Then there’s this;

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/education/82762938/Shortage-of-relief-teachers-feared-as-teachers-baulk-at-paying-to-retrain

    I have been working as a relief teacher for 20 years in pre-school, primary and secondary schools. It suited my fluctuating health condition and, despite Winz rigorous abatement regime and secondary tax, gave enough for ‘luxuries’ like running a car. No public transport here. I can’t teach now because I can’t afford the $4000 ‘professional development’ course in order to keep my provisional registration. Can’t get a student loan because it’s professional development.

    Meanwhile my area is suffering an acute shortage of relief teachers.

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