Global Education Ministers to attend education summit

Issue: Volume 93, Number 5

Posted: 24 March 2014
Reference #: 1H9ctc

Representatives from the world’s top performing education systems will be in New Zealand later this month for the 4th International Summit on the Teaching Profession.

Jointly hosted by New Zealand, the OECD and Education International, the summit has been called the ‘world cup’ of education and gives the world’s top performing systems a chance to share successes and challenges, as well as learn from each other.

The Education Gazette asked Education Minister, the Hon Hekia Parata, for her perspective on this prestigious event and the good support New Zealand is receiving as host.

International spotlight on education

“One of the most significant education events in the world will be held in Wellington this month recognising that New Zealand’s education system is one of the world’s top 20 systems as measured by the OECD.

Hosting this International Summit of the Teaching Profession not only recognises the things our education system does well, but also the outstanding performance of our teachers, principals, school trustees and education professionals, overall.
The world’s top performing education systems will gather here for the 4th International Summit on the Teaching Profession (ISTP) as part of an ongoing global discussion on strengthening the teaching profession to increase student achievement.
In education terms the summit is the ‘world cup’ of education, bringing together education ministers, teacher leaders and heads of teacher unions from the world’s highest performing and five fastest improving nations.

Jointly hosted with the OECD and Education International, New Zealand is providing a forum to address the global challenge: how do we achieve excellence and equity across our national education systems for all our students?

Among the confirmed Ministers is United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who initiated the summit in 2011 after he noticed that although America was one of the wealthiest countries in the world, its education system was failing to meet expectations.

Joining me at the Summit, the New Zealand delegation will again include teacher union representatives, together with an outstanding teacher leader, Principal of Queen Charlotte College and President of SPANZ, Tom Parsons.

There is much to celebrate in the New Zealand education system. But there is also a longstanding problem that we – and others – need to overcome. It is reflected in the theme for this year’s summit: Excellence, equity and inclusiveness – high quality education for all.

All education systems are focused on how they raise the achievement of the best and brightest students, while lifting those who are being left behind. Not least, New Zealand.

We all want our children and young people to be successful, and we understand that a good quality education sets the foundation for that success. In our early learning places, and at our schools, we know that it’s excellent teaching and leadership that have the greatest effect on the quality of achievement of our children.

Education is also the most sustainable way to combat inequality. As I have said, “decile is not destiny”. We all know that education is supposed to moderate background and there is clear national and international evidence that shows that great teaching can indeed do that.

However, we also know that there are ‘out of school’ factors that can make a real difference. Where parents, families, whānau and aiga are really engaged with their children’s learning – and their communities expect them to do well – we know that the likelihood of educational success is much, much higher.

I am particularly proud of our achievements last year, and the results of a concerted effort by the profession, practical support from the Ministry and parents targeting the students whose progress showed that without particular help they would not be successful. As a result of working together, the number of Pasifika students completing Level 2 NCEA rose by seven percent. For Māori students, that number was four percent.

Behind those statistics sit almost 1000 young people who now have the level of qualification to give them life and educational choices they wouldn’t otherwise have.

We have an unrelenting focus on giving all our young people a better education and it’s important that we publicly acknowledge the powerful contribution the teaching profession makes to lifting overall student achievement.

Hosting the summit is part of the Government’s quality teaching agenda. The proposed new independent professional body, Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand (EDUCANZ) is a cornerstone of that agenda.

In addition to the $359 million supporting teachers and principals to lift student achievement in every school, the inaugural Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards will be held in June and new post graduate teaching qualifications are also being offered from this year.

Education festivals are being held in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch to coincide with the summit as part of a celebration of teaching and learning, and publicly acknowledging excellence in our teaching professionals. Not coincidentally, this is a country commitment the New Zealand delegation made at the Amsterdam Summit in 2013.

We are fortunate in New Zealand to have some of the best educators in the world. Today’s teachers, principals and Boards of Trustees do an outstanding job. I know this because, as Minister of Education, I am lucky enough to regularly see our educators in action all over New Zealand.

Kia kaha tātou ki te whai i te mātauranga – let’s all pursue the best education possible!
Hon Education Minister, Hekia Parata.

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero, reporter@edgazette.govt.nz

Posted: 8:57 AM, 24 March 2014

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