Labour’s education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says these priorities will drive positive change across the sector, from raising the quality of education from early childhood education right through to adult learning.
“We can’t ignore the under-investment we’ve seen under National for nine years nor the rapidly changing expectations our youngest learners are facing,” says Hipkins.
He outlines plans to rebuild outdated and worn-out buildings to ensure every school has modern classrooms by 2030.
“We can’t afford to have our kids learning in overcrowded classrooms and spaces that were never intended for classroom learning, such as caravans and dental clinics that we’ve seen under National,” he says.
“We’ll also establish a comprehensive plan to ensure all school students have access to mobile digital devices, with a four year investment of $107 million.
“This plan will involve working with individual communities and schools to find a solution that best suits their need and will include an expansion of successful schemes like the Manaiakalani programme.”
New Zealand Principals’ Federation and primary teachers’ union NZEI Te Riu Roa have both applauded Labour’s intention to scrap National Standards.
NZEI has also welcomed Labour’s plans to put the “free” back into free public education.
“Labour’s full education manifesto, if implemented, would mark the beginning of a rebuild of schooling and early childhood education, which has suffered nearly a decade of underfunding,” NZEI Te Riu Roa immediate past president Louise Green says.
The NZEI also welcomes Labour’s intentions to fund a special needs coordinator (SENCO) in every school, to address the teacher shortage, and to restore funding for early childhood education.