Last Friday saw a significant event in the history of technical and skill education – possibly the most significant in the history of New Zealand education.
In the beginning technical education had found in the secondary technical high schools which provided smooth transitions into employment. Then followed the period of the sector comprised of the polytechnic and technical institutions which was something of a sector that in its early days thought it had grown up with the right to offer degree programmes but but this was blunted by a commitment to growth. That period was relatively devoid of ideas both for increasing numbers and seeing the critical need to understand the need to create sound links between the top of the secondary system and the subtle issues faced. Students were clustered around the point where students were disengaging from Year 11 and 12 where the programmes were no longer able to excite students sufficiently – they simply left, ill-prepared to meet the needs of what was once the inevitable next step – work and employment. Instead, NEETs flourished.
So, the three waves of technical education have been replaced in a bold move – Te Pukenga. The outpouring of confidence and excitement early Friday morning last filled me with an enthusiasm for amalgamation – an amalgamation of the polytechnics and technical institutes working under one banner with skills organisations who seemed not to have dropped the plot. I suggest that with strong leadership, and it is now getting this, it could be a winner’
What will be needed will be capturing the best ideas and engaging the best of the most successful people from those already in the sector. Progress up until now has been cautious, speed will be required.
What needs to be done? Here are three which ideas that can happen quickly.
- This amalgamation is not about continuation – it is about new ways of working such as continuing the recently learnt skills of delivering on-line.
- The Tertiary Technical Curriculum needs renewing – fewer programmes, points of difference between the University and the Pukenga, programmes taught in multiples sites (easing access for students).
- And, no apology for saying this! GET TO GRIPS WITH SECONDARY / TERTIARY PROGRAMMES:
- There exists a finished regulatory system to deliver all Trades Academy and Tertiary High School Programmes.
- Funding is in place.
- Other issues have been solved (Under Sixteen-year-old-Students enrolled in two institutions, schools accept students being away in the academies, etc, etc.
- Trades Academy/ Tertiary High School programmes belong in the Pukenga basket! Quick wins!
- Curriculum in place – just waiting to be Pukenga People!!