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Turning up the heat on education
By Mike Cooney

NEW ZEALAND WAS ONCE VERY PROUD OF ITS EDUCATION SYSTEM – and we rated highly when compared to others. In fact, as recently as 2000, we were one of the top performers in the OECD, ranking third for maths and fourth for reading in a group of 41 countries. However, since then (and many would argue that it started a lot earlier), we’ve been in steady decline.

In 2022, after being alerted to shockingly poor levels of numeracy and literacy among New Zealand’s school leavers, the Ministry of Education finally assessed what was happening. In tests given to 15-year-old students, only two-thirds passed the reading tests, just over half passed numeracy – and writing was even worse, with only one-third passing.

Some have called it a national disgrace …

Barely a day goes by without the state of our schools being discussed in parliament and newspapers, talkback radio and online media. So, we reached out to a well-known figure in the New Zealand education system, ALWYN POOLE, to get his thoughts on what’s going on … how we can stem the decline … and the vital role parents play in giving their children the greatest chance of success.

As a school founder, past principal and academic consultant (amongst other things), his extensive teaching career and study have qualified him more than most to help answer the question: Why is education such a hot topic at the moment?

Issue 3, 2023


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