You’d think a party with so many teacher-union friends would know what’s happening in today’s schools, but no, Labour’s playing catch-up on 21st century schools:
Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye says Labour has clearly not done its homework in the education area and is promoting “new ideas” that have already been put in place by National.
“Most of what Labour has announced today is already being delivered by the Government through its 21st century schools programme. We have a massive build plan underway to modernise school facilities, upgrade school broadband networks and partner with communities to provide digital hubs through those networks. Our Ultrafast broadband and rural broadband initiatives are delivering fibre broadband with uncapped data to nearly every school in New Zealand.
“Labour’s announcements today prove they have no idea what is already going on.”
Labour want to put money into professional learning development for ICT over the next few years. National has already invested $35 million in Professional Learning and Development, specifically targeted at learning with digital technologies.
Labour want to build an unspecified number of new schools and classrooms by 2030. Under the National government, hundreds of millions of dollars has been spent building new classrooms and upgrading older schools with the help of the Future Investment Fund, which Labour opposes. National has opened 12 new schools in the past three years in areas of growth.
And Labour wants to enable students to access the internet at home. Last year, National announced a change in policy to enable schools to extend their school internet to the surrounding area so students and families can access the internet from home.
Ms Kaye said the device subsidy programme also did not appear to have been thought through.
“There is an amazing lack of detail. Are they really going to make the subsidy available to every one of the 580,000 children in years 4 to 13? How do they plan to deal with rapid changes in technology? Is the plan limited to one device throughout the period of the student’s time in school? If not, how many devices? How are they planning to deal with the interest costs? All these questions must be answered.
“Labour has simply not done their homework. It really does make you wonder what they have been doing over the past six years.
“Our Future Focussed Learning report, sets out the direction the National government is going.
“Labour really needs to research what’s happening and catch up,” Ms Kaye says.
This ignorance of 21st century education schools isn’t surprising when Labour spends more time looking backwards than forwards and appears to be stuck in the 20th century, fighting old battles.
But that isn’t the only problem with the policy announcement, it’s yet another yeah nah one.
It sounds like every child would be given a computer but that’s not the story in the fine-print:
. . . For those schools that opt in, the policy would require parents to pay about $3.50 a week to pay off the cost of the device, estimated at about $600 each – and the Government would put in a $100 kickstart payments. The device would belong to the child after it was paid off.
For the poorest families which could not afford the payments there would be a $5 million hardship fund to call on. Teachers would also be given training in how to get most use out of the devices through a $25 million programme in 2016 and 2017. . .
The party that thinks parents can’t afford a $100 donation a year now want them to pay six times more than that.
The policy is based on the Manaiakalani Trust programme in Tamaki, which works with 12 lower decile schools to provide students with a netbook and 24/7 access to the internet.
Keeping Stock points out that is essentially a public-private partnership.
But Labour would rather spend taxpayers’ money on an initiative when there’s already a very good model supported by sponsors and trusts they could use.
Is it any wonder even they don’t expect to be in government for another 27 years.