EDTalkNZ welcomes the Better Public Service Goals for education announced by the government yesterday.
The goal of 85% of students achieving NCEA Level 2 or its equivalent is an entirely reasonable goal even if the time for getting there by 2016, is a very tight and demanding one.
To reach this goal we will have to bring success to an additional 10,000 students who currently either do not reach this goal or who disengage from education too early. The big task is that over 50% of those 10,000 students will be Maori and Pasifika if reaching the goal is to be done in an equitable manner.
The current level of disengagement from education by students under the age of 16 years suggests that reaching the goal will require:
- a greater emphasis on multiple pathways allowing students to choose different pathways with different emphases than is typically available now;
- earlier opportunity for students to find success through applied vocational education;
- an increased willingness for schools and tertiary providers to work more closely together to provide mixed qualification pathways in which the NCEA Level 2 goal is reached in combination with industry recognised qualifications;
- increasing the capacity of Youth Guarantee Programmes including trades academies, secondary / tertiary interface programmes and increased numbers of Youth Guarantee Free Fees places which allow students who wish to build on their progress in school through being able to enter a vocational qualification programme without having to stay in school for all of the three years of NCEA.
But above all, we can reach this goal if we put our minds to it and this will require two big efforts. We will have to work together across traditional boundaries with a focus on the student rather than the sector and the institution. We will have to reflect the diversity of students by admitting to a variety of approaches that will allow them to meet the goal.
So it’s up to us rather than them.