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Education is too important to be left to politicians

Katy Miller

Kōrero Mātauranga Education Conversation in Christchurch saw eight-hundred people over two days have one massive conversation. Coming together to explore 'what the future of New Zealand education might look like'.

With a diverse group of attendees spanning education (both teaching professionals and students), parents, youth services and industry. Each participant brought along their own experiences, expertise and visions for a better education system.  

It was a privilege to be selected from 3000 to take part, representing Youth Employment Success and Firebrand. Indeed an amazing event to take part in. While the fog begged to keep us landed, and meant a late start for a number of the Dunedin delegates, the summit was truly remarkable and I don’t believe I have talked so much in my life.  

The summit was not a forum to air the issues or shortcomings of current programmes, initiative or systems; but rather an opening up of dialogue about the possibilities, ideas and principles that would see an education system that benefits all New Zealanders.

“Education is too important to be left to politicians…No matter how well-intentioned we are. As the old saying goes, ‘Whatever you do for me but without me; you do to me’.” - Education Minister Chris Hipkins (full commencement speech)

How do you have an engaging rich conversation with eight-hundred people? The first step is to bring together a  diverse group of individuals from a wide variety of background. This group of needs to be ready to bring their experience, passion, and willingness to learn from one another. Ensure there are ample food, drink and inspiration on supply. Design a structure that facilitates many many small conversations and provides multiple outlets for people to engage and provide their thoughts. 

The conversations were divided into 6 key themes (hubs)

  • Ways of Learning
  • Ways of Teaching
  • Lifelong Learning
  • Skills Competencies and Behaviours
  • Self-fulfilling Lives
  • Thriving Society

Each hub hosted a number of small groups of around 8 people these groups engaged in deep conversations on the hub theme around "coffee tables",  feeding results into the shared spaces to add to the collective conversation.

Reoccuring conversations and principles from the weekend included we need to see a great emphasis on learner wellbeing, resilience, exposure to broader opportunities (earlier and available to all, teaching flexibility, and learner adaptability. It is time for a greater recognition that we are all learners, learning is a lifelong venture and not all education pathways are ones bound for university. There needs to be a stronger focus (throughout the education journey on five key competencies aka soft skills or mana enhancing skills rather than one's abilities to pass an assessment. 

The New Zealand Curriculum identifies five key competencies:

  • Thinking
  • Relating to others
  • Using Language, Symbols, and Texts
  • Managing Self
  • Participating and Contributing

The conversation on education doesn't end here, the ministry of education is committed to bringing about change and improvement across the many facets of New Zealand education.  

Stay Tuned

If you want to take part in the 'NCEA public workshop - Dunedin - 24 Jul 2018 Book online now. Anyone can attend, to participate in the conversation about NCEA, book online using the blue button that takes you to CORE Education’s website. 

To explore the conversation online, you can view posts on Facebook and Twitter or search the hashtag #EdConvo18. For more information and to stay up-to-date with the outcomes and future developments head to www.conversation.education.govt.nz