Students And Teachers Primed For The Knowledge Economy

Nick Smith Education

Dr Smith said it was vital for New Zealand's future that our top maths, science and technology teachers were up with the latest developments in their specialist areas and that teachers were encouraged to extend the skills of gifted students.

  • Thirty additional full year equivalent teacher study awards will be allocated each year to allow the best maths, science and technology teachers to improve their skills. This will cost about $5 million over three years.
  • An extra 30 Maths, Science and Technology Fellowships will be awarded to allow the best teachers to spend time working in research institutions and industry, or undertaking enterprise training. This will cost about $5 million over three years.
  • Guidelines will be developed and professional development provided for teaching gifted students.

"Many students study science, maths and technology subjects in the senior secondary school. These subjects make up the foundation of a knowledge economy. We must reward those students who excel in these areas and encourage them to continue their study at a tertiary level," Dr Smith said.

"The creation of more than 1200 new bursary study awards will lift the achievement of all students and encourage and reward the most talented.

Dr Smith announced that:

  • Up to 1200 awards of $500 each will be given to the top 3.5% of students in each mathematics and science subject if they continue their studies in these areas at tertiary level.
  • Students attaining marks of about 85% or more in each of five Bursaries subjects will receive $2,500, up from $500 currently. Those who reach this level in six subjects will receive $3,000 (up from $1,000), and the top student in each subject area will receive $5,000 (up from $3,000).
  • The top overall male and female student, and the top male and female Maori and Pacific Island students, will receive $8,000 (up from $5,000).

Dr Smith said a $1 million contestable pool, over three years, would also be available for enterprise education from January 2000.

"Programmes like the current Young Enterprise Scheme provide valuable insights for our students into how enterprise works and what skills they will need to get ahead in business.

"This fund will encourage more partnerships between enterprise and schools, so students are exposed to the 'real world'.

"Our education system must respond to the challenge of the knowledge age. This package will ensure our children will be the very best they can be," Dr Smith said.

STUDENTS AND TEACHERS PRIMED FOR THE KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Teacher Study Awards & Fellowships

Q. Why is the Government allocating additional teacher awards?

    Professional development, through awards, provides a concrete means of recognising, rewarding and supporting our best teachers to focus on the learning skills needed for New Zealand to develop a knowledge-based economy.

    The 30 extra Maths, Science and Technology Fellowships provide opportunities for greater collaboration between business and schools. Schools will be able to benefit from teachers' up-to-date knowledge of current mathematics, science or technology developments and business will be able to benefit by having teachers who are up-to-date with their needs, teaching their future employees.

Q. What benefit is there in giving these teacher awards and fellowships to our top teachers?

    The awards are about recognising and rewarding top performing teachers and keeping them abreast of new developments. They also encourage other teachers to strive to excel.

Q. Who will fill in while these teachers are out of the classroom, and who will pay the cost of it?

    Awarded teachers will be on paid leave, while schools will be given funds to employ relief teachers.

Q. Are teachers from private schools eligible?

    Yes, providing schools continue to pay the teacher's salary while they are on leave.

Q. Why are the study awards limited to enterprise, mathematics, science and technology subjects?

    Because these will provide the strongest scientific and technological base possible if New Zealand is to become a significant force within the global knowledge economy of the 21st Century

Q. How do the study awards and fellowships fit within the existing policies operating in the school education sector?

    The Government funds a number of teacher study awards each year. The additional awards are intended to complement the existing policy. The re-training opportunities for teachers in maths, enterprise, science or technology will improve the supply of highly qualified mathematics, science and technology teachers.

Q. With Government's focus on achievement of success and excellence in education, why doesn't the package support programmes for students like the Olympiads and CREST?

    The Government believes its most effective investment will be in enhanced skills for teaching professionals who will be able to work with a wide range of students. The increased enthusiasm, understanding and recognition that teachers gain from participation in these professional development opportunities may result in greater use of the Olympiad and CREST programmes. However, at the end of the day it is up to the teachers to determine the value of students participating in these programmes, rather than Government.

Q. Why develop guidelines for teaching gifted students?

    The guidelines will provide schools with updated information on the development of school-wide policies on gifted students. The information will be a balance of sound teaching practice and the latest research. The guidelines will assist schools to answer questions such as:
    • How can schools identify gifted students?
    • What strategies and interventions should schools use to meet the learning needs of these gifted students?
    • What will schools need to do differently to implement the strategy and/or intervention?

Bursary Awards

Q. Why are the new awards at the end of secondary school limited to science and mathematics subjects?

    The awards are about encouraging students with the most potential to continue their studies in science and mathematics at a tertiary level. If New Zealand is to become a significant force within the global knowledge economy of the 21st Century, we will need the strongest scientific and technological base possible.

Enterprise Education

Q. Why develop partnerships between enterprises and schools?

    Enterprises (profit and non-profit) are in every community in New Zealand. Schools are expected to meet and reflect the diverse needs of their community.

    Under-pinning the education reforms of the 90s is the expectation that schools will work with their community, including enterprises, to enhance students' learning opportunities in relation to the national and local curriculum. The revised version of "Working Together, Building Partnerships Between Schools and Enterprises" document released this year clarifies ways in which schools might achieve effective enterprise partnerships in order to enhance teaching and learning in. This initiative provides the funding to support the establishment of links between schools and enterprises that are focused on enterprise education.

Q. Why doesn't Government just fund enterprise programmes?

    Schools, not Government, make decisions regarding curriculum delivery. At present, schools are able to purchase a range of enterprise education programmes from various providers. Schools need flexibility to incorporate enterprise education into their programmes in ways that suit the needs and interests of their students and teachers and relate to the community of the school.