LAUNCH OF MASSEY UNIVERSITY GRADUATE SCHOOL OF EDUCATIONEnterprise and Commerce
I am delighted to be here to formally launch the collaboration of the Massey University College of Education and the Auckland College of Education.
The resulting new Massey University Graduate School of Education is the first of its kind in this country.
It is exactly what the Government's Bright Future initiative is all about.
As I have been telling audiences up and down the country for months, we are facing a social and economic environment in which the rate of change is constantly increasing.
The tide of globalisation sweeping the world is changing everything.
The internet has turned the world into a giant supermarket for education and the dissemination of ideas, as well as products and services.
And the ways of thinking and acting that have served people well until recently are being re-evaluated and challenged.
In the knowledge economy, what is in our heads will be more valuable than what is in our paddocks, our forests and in our oceans.
It is in this context, that new organisations like the graduate school are so important.
As everyone here today knows, people who become teachers make a difference' in the lives of their students.
And today, as we enter the knowledge age, that ‘difference' will have an impact on students' as never before.
The key to our future as a nation lies in our skill levels, knowledge base and our versatility and ability to innovate.
Teachers, more than ever, have the heavy responsibility of ensuring that every young person leaves school with the tool kit and understanding of the value of education to enable them to learn throughout their lives.
The way in which teacher education providers exercise their responsibilities has also never been more important.
They must ensure that those who go out into the schools have the expertise to prepare future generations for the challenges of the new Millennium.
The Government has been playing its part by putting in place new initiatives as part of the bright Future package that will strengthen teachers' skills and knowledge in key areas.
From 2000, 30 new full year Teacher Study Awards are to be available annually to allow the best teachers to update their skills in maths, science and technology.
The awards are open to all primary and secondary teachers, including Maori medium teachers.
They will provide opportunities for teachers to complete qualifications, improve an existing qualification, and obtain qualifications in a different curriculum area, that is relevant to the knowledge economy.
In addition, the number of teaching fellowships has been increased from 15 to 45 and extended from the beginning of 2000 to include enterprise training.
Teachers will be seconded to organisations and businesses actively involved in research and development for the benefit of New Zealand.
They are then expected to return to the classroom to communicate the benefits of their fellowship through classroom activities, support for their teaching colleagues and ongoing contact with research businesses and organisations.
These initiatives will help to meet our need for teachers that are up to date with the latest developments in teaching in their specialist areas.
They will also provide new opportunities for tertiary education providers to work with the enterprise and research sectors to further New Zealand's knowledge base and foster innovation.
There are other initiatives too of course - the literacy and numeracy initiative with its focus on the early years of school, and the recently announced assessment policy package for the primary school sector are examples.
But, Government is not, and cannot be, the only player in the area of developing teacher capability and professionalism.
While schools and teachers themselves obviously carry responsibility for on-going professional development, it is providers like the Massey University Graduate School of Education which must take up the challenge of training our teachers for the new century.
Your success will be the nation's success, because the students your graduates educate will determine our economic and social success as a country.
I look forward to seeing the graduate school's contribution - through excellent teaching, learning and research - to a high quality, professional teaching workforce, and thus to the young people in our schools.