Hekia Parata is ignoring overwhelming opposition by ploughing ahead with plans to gut the political independence of the teaching profession and stifle democracy on tertiary institution councils, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.
“It is no surprise a massive 91 per cent of submitters completely opposed the Education Amendment Bill. Only six submitters out of 937 fully supported the Government’s proposals.
“The Education Minister has provided no robust evidence to support the changes which are being cynically rushed through Parliament.
“Many submitters believe the proposed model represents low trust in teachers. There are no provisions for a guaranteed number of teachers on the EDUCANZ Council and no provision for those governed by the new professional body to have a say in who represents them.
“The Educational Institute has warned this will lead to the Minister handpicking Council members and questions which other sector doesn’t elect its own representatives.
“There was also concern from submitters that the inclusion of relevant minimum standards set by the State Services Commission could potentially ‘gag’ teachers from commenting on government education policy.
“Hekia Parata has also failed to demonstrate the need to reform the governance of tertiary institutions. In fact, evidence from the University of Auckland showed a similar reduction in the size of polytechnic councils had resulted in poorer performance.
“The Union of Students Associations today warned that the Government’s reforms would introduce a ‘dangerous level of direct government control’ over tertiary institution councils.
“National's war on teachers continues. This Government has no trust in the profession.
“As usual, Hekia Parata – not the education sector – knows best. Teachers and students will pay the price of her Bill, parts of which are simply bureaucratic nonsense and unworkable,” Chris Hipkins says.