Increased funding, less assessment, and greater access to te reo Māori are some of the emerging themes from a nationwide survey on education.

The Ministry of Education launched the national Education Conversation – Kōrero Mātauranga in March, as the first step in a major review of the education system.

Today, it revealed an initial report of the emerging themes from the first 11,000 responses to its online survey. The survey will remain open until the end of the month.

The first question asked people what they would do first if they were the boss of education in New Zealand.

Addressing equity, teaching quality, increased funding, smaller classes, and better learning support were all emerging themes.

The qualities of resilience, well-roundness and confidence were deemed important for learners, the survey found.

Reducing assessment within the education system was also a common theme.

“Relatedly, many respondents commented on opposition to standardised testing. Some respondents felt that focusing on how much progress students are making through the curriculum is more important than judging whether they are reaching benchmarks at certain points.”

School-aged respondents made up about 9 per cent of responses analysed so far.

“Young respondents commented that there was too much focus on assessment and a number of their comments identified the workload this places on teachers.”

Youth were also concerned about access to education, in particular free education within tertiary study.

Parents were more likely to be concerned about bullying, access to information, and system-wide issues such as funding.

The report said Māori education was brought up many times, not only by those who identified as Māori.

People called for better teaching of Maori culture and history, as well as te reo Māori being compulsory in schools.

Reducing disparities in outcomes for Māori students was also a common focus point.

Feedback from the survey will be used to inform the various aspects of the Government’s Education Work Programme.

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