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Month: September 2022

Heaving a Great Big Sigh

Education must surely be exercising the patience of the government with the current list of issues and puzzles.

Students who are compelled by the law to attend school simply thumbing their noses at the Ministry of Education.

I have written about this before. Let us clear up that New Zealand had an absentee / truancy problem long before Covid came on the scene. The 1990’s started to feel uneasy when students started to have uneven attendance pattern, but Scotland was pioneering a new phenomenon – NEETs with its trendy acronym which spelt out the grim but gentle fact that those who were NEETs (Not in Education, Employment or Training) were beyond the touch of any of the ways of getting onto a pathway. Instead of pushing back this new group of people needed to have special programmes and responses to cater for them. These programmes were expensive and difficult to manage.

The solution should have been found in the schools – BUT….. Not in the schools if they were with to remain unchanged. NEETs folk needed different programmes. They were the disengagers and so the programmes for NEETs largely failed because the solutions were based on the same old same old processes of conventional schools and the trappings of many decades of failing to change. The disengagers had and have little or no patience for the conventional schools with their uniforms and the approach which continued to insure that the school day was of a certain length regardless of the need for students to be at school when they needed to be at school for the time they needed to be. When the reforms that gave NZEA were being introduced the promise was that ”time served would be dead.”  What happened to that one!

Again I quote “so much reform – so little change.” (Charles Payne).

So here are some key questions.

Does anyone in Wellington actually have profiles of categories of students who don’t attend school?

Is the Ministry of Education prepared to move on parents whose children are not attending school?

Will the Ministry of Education conduct a study on the role Secondary Tertiary Programmes might play a part.

Finally, will the Ministry of Education and TEC instruct Te Pukenga urgently instruct Te Pukenga to first understand Secondary Tertiary Programmes and prepare a plan to make use of these excellent programmes that have brought success into the lives of so many?

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