< July 2021 newsletter


‘Māori-Crown Partnership’ features strongly in revamp of education system

During 2018 the Government announced a three-year work programme to bring about significant changes to New Zealand’s education system, from preschool to university. The reforms include a complete overhaul of the Ministry of Education, a review of Tomorrow’s Schools, and NCEA, and a programme of change for vocational education. 

The Education and Training Act 2020, which quite a number of us made submissions on early last year, brings all key legislation on early learning, schooling and tertiary education into a single statute. This Act repealed and replaced all major existing education and training legislation with the aim of establishing a simpler, more user-friendly, and less prescriptive legislative framework, and giving all learners “a high-quality, culturally responsive, seamless and inclusive education”. This applies from early learning, through schooling, and into tertiary education, vocational training, and employment. Its purpose statement includes establishing and regulating an education system that honours Te Tiriti o Waitangi and supports Māori-Crown relationships. 

This reform strengthens the policy promoted in 2007 by then Prime Minister Helen Clark, when she launched a new ‘progressive’ primary and secondary school curriculum that will “give effect to the partnership that is at the core of our nation’s founding document, the Treaty of Waitangi”. Section 9 of the Act sets out the main provisions in relation to the Crown’s responsibility to give effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and includes obligations in relation to Te Tiriti o Waitangi for school boards, tertiary education institutions and education agencies.

The Act gives direction to school boards regarding student rights and broadens the board's objectives so that educational achievement is no longer the only primary objective. Instead, it is joined by three other primary objectives:

  • the school must ensure the physical and emotional safety of students and staff (including the elimination of racism, stigma, bullying, and any other forms of discrimination within the school);
  • the school must be inclusive and cater for students with differing needs; and 
  • the school must give effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi,

- by working to ensure the school's plans, policies and local curriculum reflect local tikanga Māori, mātauranga Māori and te ao Māori; 

- that all reasonable steps are being taken to make instruction available in te reo Māori and tikanga Māori; and 

- achieving equitable outcomes for Māori students.

Similar to the policies promoted in the proposed new Health reforms, the Act provides a mechanism for the Minister of Education and the Minister of Māori-Crown relations to, after consultation with Māori, issue a statement specifying what the various education agencies (i.e. the Ministry, the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC), the New Zealand Qualification Authority, the Education Review Office, and Education New Zealand) must do to give effect to public service objectives that relate to Te Tiriti o Waitangi. This appears to give the Ministers the power to order new directives as they see fit, outside of the transparency and accountability of the formal legislative process. (An example of the “less prescriptive legislative framework” at work, perhaps?)

In addition, there is:

  • provision for Māori contribution to decision-making in tertiary education and vocational education and training (sections 278(2)(a)320(1)(c)325(1) and (3)326(2) and 363(3)(b));
  • a directive that councils of institutions have a duty, in the performance of their functions and the exercise of their powers, to acknowledge the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi (as per the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975) and (section 281(1)(b));
  • directs that Te Pūkenga - New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology improves outcomes for Māori learners and Māori communities in collaboration with Māori and iwi partners and interested persons or bodies (section 315(f));
  • directs that TEC members be appointed in accordance with section 28(1)(a)of the Crown Entities Act 2004, after consultation with the Minister for Māori Development (section 402);
  • directs that, when considering whether to appoint a person as a member of the Teaching Council, the Minister is to have regard to the collective skills, experience, and knowledge making up the overall composition of the Teaching Council, including understanding of the partnership principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi (section 476(4)(b)(v),); 
  • directs that a good employer in the education service is an employer who operates an employment policy containing provisions requiring recognition of the aims and aspirations of Māori, the employment requirements of Māori, and the need for greater involvement of Māori in the education service (section 597(2)(d)). 

So much for that promise of “less prescriptive legislation”.

CURRICULUM CHANGES

THE COMPULSORY NEW ZEALAND HISTORIES CURRICULUM FOR YEARS 1 - 10

The proposed ‘Aotearoa New Zealand Histories Curriculum’ is the first substantive subject to be addressed since the introduction of the Education and Training Act in 2020. The draft curriculum attracted nearly 5,000 public submissions during the two months of public consultation, and if the feedback is anything like what was discussed in the media, the drafters should be having a rethink. The draft curriculum appears to be not so much about the history of this nation, but more about promoting a particular political ideology. For a critical appraisal of the proposed New Zealand history curriculum by John Robinson, author of several books on New Zealand’s history, please click here

THE NCEA CHANGE PROGRAMME FOR YEARS 11 - 13

As part of the significant changes, the government is currently underway with a four-year programme to reform the NCEA syllabus, to “improve well-being, equity, coherence, pathways and credibility – for students and teachers alike”.

The programme proposes to introduce seven changes:

  1. make NCEA more accessible (zero fees);
  2. ensure equal status of mātauranga Māori (alongside Western knowledge);
  3. strengthen literacy and numeracy requirements and assessments (previously students could pass NCEA without this basic requirement being met);
  4. fewer, larger standards (a focus on assessing only the most significant learning in each subject);
  5. simplify NCEA's structure (simplifying credit and literacy/numeracy requirements);
  6. provide clearer pathways to further education or work (early exit to vocational training); and
  7. keep NCEA Level 1 optional (a broader, foundational base of knowledge before specialising in Levels 2 and 3).

A new subject list for NCEA Level 1 was released by the government in 2020. The number of subjects offered for assessment will be reduced by 10 to 32. As a result of the review it has been decided that classical studies, art history, media studies, psychology and Latin will be dropped from the NCEA level 1 syllabus (Latin is to be dropped from the NCEA curriculum altogether); chemistry and biology will be being combined into one subject; physics will be combined with earth and space science; agricultural and horticultural science will have new standards developed; and Māori performing arts will be added as a new subject. (See the table below).

NCEA CHANGE PROGRAMME: LEVEL 1 SUBJECTS
Downloaded from NCEA changes site

 

CURRENT SUBJECTS

2023 SUBJECTS

ENGLISH

English

English

TE REO MĀORI

Te Reo Māori

Te Reo Māori

ARTS

Visual Arts

Visual Arts

 

Māori Performing Arts

Music

Music

Dance

Dance

Drama

Drama

Art History

-

SCIENCE

Science

Science

Chemistry

Chemistry and Biology *

Biology

Physics

Physics, Earth, and Space Science *

Agricultural and Horticultural Studies

Agricultural and Horticultural Studies

SOCIAL STUDIES

Religious Studies

Religious Studies

Geography

Geography

Psychology

-

Media Studies

-

History

History

Classical Studies

-

Social Studies

Social Studies

Economics

Commerce **

Business Studies

Accounting

MATHS

Mathematics and Statistics

Mathematics and Statistics

HEALTH

Physical Education

Physical Education

Health

Health Education (with Home Economics) *

Home Economics

TECHNOLOGY

Construction and Materials Technology

Materials and Processing Technology *

Processing Technology

Technology

Digital Technology

Digital Technology

Design and Visual Communication

Design and Visual Communication

LANGUAGE

Cook Islands Māori

Cook Islands Māori

French

French

German

German

Japanese

Japanese

Korean

Korean

Tongan

Tongan

Samoan

Samoan

Spanish

Spanish

NZ Sign Language

NZ Sign Language

Latin

-

* The titles of these subjects are working titles, to be confirmed through further sector engagement.
** The Ministry will seek further sector input to determine the extent to which it is appropriate to include Accounting within Commerce.

The next phase of public consultation is underway – feedback is invited on provisional subject list for levels 2 and 3. You have until August 11 to have your say.

See the timeline below for more information on the NCEA Change Programme

NCEA CHANGE PROGRAMME TIMELINE

For more on the NCEA Change Programme, including information on the pilot programme that is underway, please see the NCEA Change Programme website.

References

Education Minister announces major education reforms

The Education and Training Act 2020 – Purpose of Act

The Education and Training Act 2020: Te Tiriti o Waitangi

The Education and Training Act 2020 – Statement of expectations

Ministry of Education: ‘Education and Training Act’

Education and Training Act 2020: Amending school board objectives

Education Portfolio Work Programme 2021

The Statement of National Education and Learning Priorities (NELP) & Tertiary Education Strategy (TES)

Changes to strengthen NCEA

Refreshing The New Zealand Curriculum – Education in New Zealand

Roadmap - Refreshing the New Zealand Curriculum for schooling (education.govt.nz)

Media coverage

Stuff: Biggest overhaul of school system in 30 years

RNZ: Disappointment and frustration' over NCEA Level 1 subject changes

RNZ: Classics teachers disappointed at NCEA Level 1 removal

 

Go back to the July 2021 newsletter


RELATED ARTICLES


No real changes to the radical draft New Zealand ‘histories’ curriculum

A recently released report on the draft curriculum content for teaching New Zealand’s ‘histories’ in our schools points to a determination to continue down the path of foisting upon our children an ideologically driven lop-sided version of our history. This is despite much criticism about the lack of balance in the draft content from historians, educationalists, parents/family, and community members. Continue reading

New history curriculum - thumbs down from some

The Government has recently released their draft New Zealand history curriculum, which has been circulated for public feedback. The main themes include the arrival of Māori, early colonial history, the Treaty of Waitangi, the New Zealand wars, and New Zealand's role in the Pacific. Continue reading

Te Hurihanganui - education or indoctrination?

The Ministry of Education is about to implement a programme to radically change our education system. True to the doctrine of a Treaty partnership, the Ministry has been working with Māori academics and educationalists to design a blueprint for a ‘transformative shift’ in the education of our children and grandchildren. Continue reading

New rules seek to impose Māori cultural values on all our children

With its significant boost to the place of the Treaty of Waitangi in schools, the Education and Training Bill is another instance of the insidious shift of power and authority in government agencies. This Bill will confer undue rights on Maori to influence the education of our children and young people.  Please do not let this Bill go unchallenged! Make a submission on this very important issue. Continue reading