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Te Tähuhu o te Mätauranga (The Ministry of Education): The ministry's mission is to raise achievement and reduce disparity in education. It is responsible for providing policy advice to the Minister of Education on all aspects of education, overseeing the implementation of approved policies, developing national guidelines, and ensuring the optimum use of resources. The ministry provides funding to early childhood centers and schools, negotiates levels of funding for tertiary institutions and wänanga, and ensures accountability for resources. It also administers legislation, manages education property owned by the Crown, conducts research, and collects education statistics. The ministry ensures the delivery of education advisory services, special education services, curriculum, and early childhood development through contractual arrangements with other agencies. The ministry's influence on education outcomes is indirect. It is not a provider of education.

Its purpose reflects this: Te Ihi, Te Mana, Te Mätauranga (Empowering Education). The ministry says:

Education enables people to gain knowledge, skills, and attitudes so they can participate fully, socially and economically, in the community. Our role is facilitative rather than directive. We empower through our leadership, management of the infrastructure, problem-solving ability, and assistance of those at risk of underachievement. What we do influences the motivation and focus of the sector. We need to work with parents, teachers, and education managers to encourage, support, and enable them to use their energy, motivation, and skill to greatest benefit. We need to foster a policy environment that enables educators to operate effectively and students to participate and achieve. We need to ensure we are creating a system that can respond quickly and effectively to wider social and economic impacts and the needs of different communities, society, and employers.

The 2000-2001 Year in Education: The ministry reported that:

The past few years have seen a significant shift in the thinking and approach of the Ministry of Education. The focus is now on educational achievement. This is reflected in work on literacy, numeracy, assessment, information and communication technologies (ICT), school support, Maori education, and teacher professional development. For a number of learners, influences in the wider family and community environment act as barriers to their education. We address and reduce these factors through working closely with health, social policy, and community agencies and through building up the capability of families and communities to support the education of their children.

The shift toward a focus on educational achievement is also mentioned in the ministry's mission statement, which discusses all aspects of the changing attitude.

New Focus on Achievement: This sees a continuation of initiatives that commenced in recent years and the instigation of new government initiatives. Work under each of the mission statement headings contributes to the other, and it is important that such linkages are explicitly recognized. The government's priority to "close the gap" is a major focus for the ministry's work. Lifting both the achievement and participation of a significant number of participants from Maori communities and Pacific families is a priority.

Work continues on a range of initiatives to ensure all children have the opportunity to acquire the literacy and numeracy foundations that are essential to their ongoing education. One part of the plan to improve in those areas is to develop the capability within schools and classrooms to implement the most effective approaches for teaching students most at risk of not succeeding. Measures include developing a wider range of diagnostic tools and exemplars of effective teaching and assessment practice. A focus on the teaching strategies of schools and the professional development of their staff will continue to be important dimensions of the major strengthening education initiatives.

Another key initiative is to lift the participation of Maori, Pacific, and low-income families in high-quality early childhood education services to at least the level of the general population. The government has sought advice on additional measures and steps that are needed to achieve this goal. Areas that have been identified include improving the availability of early childhood services, increasing the professional capability of these services, and reducing the barriers created by language difficulties, lack of transport, transience, and parenting skills. Facilitating and supporting communities to develop the services that work best for them is another increasingly important role we look to play.

The ministry knows that families play an important part in any attempt to improve education. Strengthening the role of families and communities in the learning process, including developing genuine partnerships between the government, providers, and communities, is a key goal to help lift student achievement. An example of areas of work where this is important include the effort to strengthen education initiatives in disadvantaged areas such as Mangere and Otara, the East Coast, Northland, and Tuhoe and with AIMHI and Maori boarding schools.

The ministry knows that reaching young students will be easier if it can lift the foundation skills of adults and improve the pathways into tertiary education for those with few skills and low qualification levels. The work on industry training, adult education, adult literacy, community education, and parenting programs is designed to raise the skills of adults and, where possible, to also provide support for the education of children and strengthen the relationship between communities and education providers.

Success at all levels is important, so raising achievement levels for all learners is vital. To be a knowledge society, New Zealand has to better foster people's ability and willingness to learn skills in communication, numeracy, information, problem solving, and social and cooperative behavior, across a range of learning areas. Skill development starts in the earliest stages of life and continues through into adulthood. Increased diversity in our population, changing social and economic circumstances, and the impact on New Zealand of technology and globalization are placing increasing demands on the education system. Good quality early childhood education plays an important role in setting the foundations for successful transition to school. In the school, setting the national curriculum establishes expectations about learning outcomes as students progress.

Promoting Excellence Within the Education System: The ministry hopes to encourage early childhood education providers to raise their quality. Work will focus on the development of an early childhood sector plan and the proposed registration of early childhood teachers. Research will be on the best use of Te Whariki, professional development, and professional practice within the sector.

To improve the students, the ministry knows it must improve the effectiveness of teachers in subject knowledge, pedagogy, and assessment practices. The establishment of an education council and reviews of staffing will be significant areas of policy work. The demand for quality Maori immersion education continues to grow. The continued development of the Maori language education plan, increasing the supply of qualified Maori teachers, increasing the language proficiency of those teachers, creating more curriculum resources, reducing the workload of Maori teachers, and ensuring new kura kaupapa Maori and new wharekura are established with the necessary requisites for success will continue as areas of major focus. The National Administrative Guidelines now require schools to have explicit strategies to ensure the educational success of Maori students.

The implementation of the Samoan and Cook Island Language Curriculum will go some way to meeting the needs of those Pacific students whose families want their children to be proficient in the language of their culture. Increasing the supply of Pacific teachers will remain a priority, as will improving the responsiveness of mainstream schools to the needs of Pacific students.

Logically, if students and teachers are being asked to improve, administrators should also be expected to improve. The ministry hopes to support and develop the leadership capability of school boards and principals. The leadership capability of the principal and the board of trustees is of critical importance to a school's success and needs to be supported along with that of teachers through a range of interventions.

To have the largest possible impact nationwide, the ministry intends to maximize the contribution of the tertiary sector to New Zealand's social and economic well being. The expansion of employment-based education, including the development of modern apprenticeships, the establishment of a Tertiary Education Advisory Commission (TEAC), review of tertiary resourcing including student loans, development of a Maori tertiary education strategy, and the Pacific Islands Tertiary Initiative will be important areas of work.

Finally, the ministry will look internally at ways to enhance its own capabilities. By improving the its responsiveness to Maori, the ministry shifted skills away from those that looked to control and instruct toward those that sought to recognize the importance of strong relationships, facilitate change, and nurture the ability to monitor and assess educational achievement at a range of levels across the system.

For 2000-2001, five areas have been identified as priorities for educational administration. They build on the initiatives that were introduced as part of the Ministry's Strategic Business Plan adopted in 1998-1999:

  • Building on the investment in human resources systems by focusing on management training and developing organizational capability.
  • Developing strong and effective relationships to support the process of change in the education sector.
  • Continuing to increase the responsiveness of the Ministry and its staff to Maori.
  • Developing stronger and more effective planning and management information systems.
  • Improving business and information systems.

The new coalition government's priorities represent a significant focus in the work across the Ministry:

  • A return to central resourcing of all schools and equity funding of early childhood education providers will require change in resourcing systems.
  • Ministry will be involved in the negotiation of more collective employment contracts in the school and kindergarten systems.
  • Legislation has been introduced to amend enrollment schemes.

Teacher supply in the secondary sector and particularly in disciplines such as math, science, Te Reo Maori, and computing will require close attention and monitoring as secondary school rolls continue to grow.

Three other key government goals are:

  • Strengthen national identity and uphold the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.
  • Grow an inclusive, innovative economy for the benefit of all.
  • Restore trust in government and provide strong social services.

Although these may appear to be little more than slogans, they have attracted considerable criticism when their implementation has been pursued. Closing the gaps, for example was modified in late 2000 to incorporate all sectors of the population and not just Maori.

Ministry of Education Overview: The Ministry reports that:

It is vital to the well-being of New Zealand and its people to have an effective education system. Educational achievement levels of all students must rise over time. The significant disparity in the educational achievement of some groups in our community must be reduced. The quality of the education system must continually evolve and improve. Since it was established in 1989, the Ministry has seen far-reaching changes that have had an impact across the education community. Shifts in population, increasing ethnic diversity, a wider range of socioeconomic circumstances, advances in technology, and changes in the global market will continue to be important themes.

The Ministry of Education's influence on education outcomes rests on the quality of policy advice, its implementation, services, and relationships with communities and education providers. We have an important responsibility to use our skills, knowledge, and experience to empower those in the sector to provide effective education. We need to work in partnership with and to apply the talent, skills, and enthusiasm of all those involved in education—students, parents, whänau, teachers, and managers. Jointly our efforts must focus on reducing disparity and raising achievement.

Strengthening the Ministry's capability and effectiveness will remain a key priority over the next three years. We need to keep changing and become better at anticipating and adapting to changes in the wider environment. The Ministry needs to work within a clear, long-term, strategic context. The whole range of its responsibilities, including policy advice and implementation, need to be well integrated. We need strong, productive relationships with the education sector, and more effective policies for Maori in education and for the educational attainment of Pacific Islands peoples.

The educational administrative bodies are as follows:

Mana Tohu Matauranga o Aotearoa (New Zealand Qualifications Authority): The Qualifications Authority, a Crown-owned agency, is an independent body that reports directly to the Minister of Education. Its main functions are to develop and maintain a comprehensive, flexible, and accessible National Qualifications Framework; oversee the setting of standards for qualifications; ensure New Zealand qualifications are recognized overseas, and overseas qualifications are recognized in New Zealand; and administer national examinations, both secondary and tertiary.

Te Tari Arotake Mätauranga (Education Review Office): The Education Review Office (ERO) reports publicly on the quality of education in all New Zealand schools and early childhood centers. This involves reviewing and evaluating all aspects of school and early childhood services including the quality of teaching, the quality of students' learning, and the role of management and elected school trustees.

Te Pou Taki Körero (Learning Media): Learning Media is an educational publishing company that specializes in producing programs and resources in a wide range of media for teachers and children, including the "School Journal." In addition to producing educational materials in print and on audio and video cassettes, the Crownowned company makes information and resources available online and on CD-ROM.

Te Poari Kairëhita Kaiako (Teacher Registration Board): The Teacher Registration Board is a Crown entity that maintains a register of teachers who fit the requirements of the Education Act. Teachers are issued with a practicing certificate valid for three years. Teacher registration is compulsory for teachers employed in all kindergartens, private, and state schools. Teachers who do not meet registration requirements can be temporarily employed with a limited authority to teach, which must be renewed annually.

Boards of Trustees, Councils, & Service Centers: Boards of trustees govern all state primary and secondary schools in New Zealand. Board members are elected by the parents of students enrolled at the school and may include three to seven parent representatives, the principal of the school, and a staff representative. One student enrolled full time in a class above Year 9 (Form 3) may also be elected to a board as a student representative. Boards may co-opt additional members, to ensure, for instance, that there is a gender balance and that the board reflects the ethnic and socioeconomic diversity of the student body of the school. Each board of trustees has a large measure of autonomy in its control of the management of its school. It has responsibility for payment of ancillary staff salaries, salaries of designated management positions in schools, and for the allocation of funds for the operational activities of the school. Boards of trustees are required to present an annual report and statement of service performance to their community and the Ministry of Education.

In addition to the boards, there are councils—polytechnics, universities, and colleges of education are all managed by councils made up of members representing various interest groups. Another functional group is the education service centers, which offer services such as administration of school transport, payroll, property, and other administration services to schools.

Pükenga Aotearoa (Skill New Zealand): Skill New Zealand is a Crown entity governed by a board appointed by the Ministry of Education. Skill New Zealand is the business name for the organization, which, until recently, has been known by its official name of the Education and Training Support Agency. Skill New Zealand promotes lifelong learning and works to raise the skill levels of all New Zealanders. It is responsible for a number of training initiatives: industry training, youth training, training opportunities, te Ararau, takiala, and commissioned youth action training.

Skill New Zealand oversees a range of initiatives designed to build a highly skilled and adaptable workforce. Their aim is to contribute to New Zealand's competitive advantage in the global market. It prepares school leavers to start their working lives, assists unemployed people to reenter the workforce, and facilitates training to raise the skills of people currently in employment. It has a national Office in Wellington and a network of regional offices to assist learners and industry around the country. It often purchases training on behalf of government, and works closely with the Department of Work and Income, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Maori Development, the New Zealand Qualifications Authority, Work-bridge, the Department of Labor, and senior schools. The aim is to empower local communities to respond quickly to the education and training needs of their learners and employers.

This practical focus is underpinned by ongoing research into adult education and learning. This enables Skill New Zealand to provide strategic leadership and promote best practice in key education and training issues. Skill New Zealand supports workplace learning that raises skills and boosts competitive advantage for business. Its aim is to improve access to structured training in the workplace throughout people's working lives and purchase training in most areas of industry through Industry Training Organizations. Skill New Zealand also administers the new Modern Apprenticeships scheme.

The group also tries to achieve quality education and training outcomes for Maori learners in a variety of ways, including initiatives developed and run by Maori providers and organizations. In purchasing education and training for Maori, Skill New Zealand places great emphasis on creating learning environments that recognize Maori needs and integrate Maori capability skills, such as Te Reo, Tikanga, and Te Mana Tangata.

Te Rünanga o Aotearoa mö te Rangahau i te Mätauranga (New Zealand Council for Educational Research): This is an autonomous body with statutory recognition, the council conducts educational research projects. The mission of NZCER is to support educators through quality research, resources, and information. NZCER is a not-for-profit organization with a bicultural focus. Its strong international reputation is based on 65 years of experience, political autonomy, and approximately 50 highly qualified, multilingual, multiskilled staff members. NZCER has a unique standing in New Zealand education and internationally. It is a leader in many research areas, and serves a wide range of educational institutions and agencies. Education House in Wellington is NZCER's headquarters. NZCER was set up in 1934 under a grant from the Carnegie Corporation, has undertaken 65 years of independent research and became a statutory body in 1945. The NZCER Act of 1972 states that the function of the council shall be:

  1. To foster the study of, and research into, education and other like matters, and to prepare and publish such reports on these matters as may in its opinion be necessary or of value to teachers and other persons
  2. To furnish information, advice, and assistance to persons and organizations concerned with education and other similar matters

The Board of NZCER, which represents a wide cross section of education interests, helps identify key educational issues and stakeholder needs, thus providing a strategic focus for the council. Some of its educational interests are as follows:

Te Kaupapa Mätauranga mö te Iwi Maori, the Maori Education Trust, administers and cosponsors scholarships, bursaries, and grants for Maori attending secondary, tertiary, and postgraduate courses both here and overseas. The sponsor parties include trusts set up by prominent Maori and other individual New Zealanders as well as business and community organizations. It also cosponsors the national Maori Ngä Manu Körero (speech competitions) and runs programs for Maori students in primary and secondary schools.

NCZER monitors and seeks to control education expenditures and funding. New Zealand's proportion of gross domestic product spent on education was 5.3 percent in 1996, above the OECD average of 4.9 percent. In 1997-1998 the state spent NZ$5,714 million on education or 16.7 percent of total government expenses; in 1998-1999, NZ$5,910 million or 16.8 percent; and in 1999-2000 NZ$6,238 million or 17.2 percent. For early childhood spending, a universal funding formula forms the basis for direct funding subsidies of chartered early childhood services. Services can claim funding for a maximum of six hours per childplace day, with a limit of 30 hours per week.

Compulsory schooling in New Zealand is funded by the government to varying degrees, depending on the type of school. Each state school is given a grant for operating costs and the board of trustees is responsible for making sure that the school is properly maintained. Expenditure is controlled by each school's board of trustees. The costs of teachers' salaries (excluding senior management salaries), school transport, teacher removal expenses, major capital works, and long-term maintenance are paid directly by the Ministry of Education. Financial management of the schools is subject to review and audit by the Audit Office. Education management and attainment is reviewed by the Education Review Office. Funds are also available for special education, school boarding bursaries, and the school transport system.

In 1991 a new system for funding tertiary institutions called the Equivalent Full-Time Student (EFTS) system was introduced. Under the system polytechnics, colleges of education, universities, and wänanga receive state subsidies for the number of equivalent full-time students in each of the course-cost categories at their institution. These funded places are provided in bulk by the government in advance of the funding year. The funding is inclusive of capital works. The EFTS funding system has abolished detailed central decision making about levels of staffing, operating grants, and capital works projects. These responsibilities now lie with the management of tertiary institutions. In August 1999 it was estimated that 160,860 EFTSs were being funded with NZ$1.1672 billion.

The Ministry of Education, through its Property Management Group (PMG) is responsible for managing the Crown's ownership interest in New Zealand's state school property portfolio. This portfolio comprises around 2,300 state schools and their grounds throughout the country, with a total capital value of around NZ$4.7 billion.

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