Based on feedback from 50,000 New Zealanders on the future of education, the Minister of Education has published a Statement of National Education and Learning Priorities (NELP) and the Tertiary Education Strategy (TES), which is applicable to all licensed early learning services, including kōhanga reo, schools and kura, and tertiary education organisations.
The NELP and the TES have eight specific priorities between them. These are:
- ensuring that places of learning are safe and inclusive and free from racism, discrimination, and bullying
- having high aspirations for every learner/ākonga and supporting these by partnering with their whānau and communities to design and deliver education that responds to their needs, and sustains their identities, languages and culture
- reducing barriers to education for all, including Māori and Pacific learners/ākonga, disabled learners/ākonga and those with learning support needs
- ensuring every learner/ākonga gains sound foundation skills including language, literacy and numeracy,
- meaningfully incorporating te reo Māori and tikanga Māori into their everyday activities,
- developing staff to strengthen teaching, leadership and learner support capability across the education workforce
- collaborating more with whānau, employers, industry and communities to ensure learners/ākonga have the skills, knowledge and pathways to succeed in work
- enhance the contribution of research and mātauranga Māori in addressing local and global challenges (TES only).
From 2021, the Ministry of Education will be supporting all early learning services, including kōhanga reo, schools and kura, to incorporate the NELP priorities into their plans and everyday practice over time. More information will be available in the New Year on how the Ministry will be supporting these places of learning with the implementation of the NELP.
The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) will be supporting tertiary education providers to incorporate these priorities into their investment plans.
The NELP and the TES are the culmination of the work that our places of learning have been doing over recent years in relation to strategies and initiatives such as the Education and Training Act 2020, Ka Hikitia, Tau Mai Te Reo and the Learning Support Action Plan.
Of course, many places of learning already have policies and practices in place that reflect the priorities in the NELP and the TES. And there is no expectation that early learning services, including kōhanga reo, or schools or kura are required to implement all of the NELP’s priorities immediately. For now, it’s all about early learning services and schools familiarising themselves with the NELP, planning how its priorities are best achieved within their context, and assessing how they might shift their focus so that the priorities become part of their everyday practice.