April 13, 2016
Board role best way to influence curriculum
Education Minister Hekia Parata says if Maori want their history to be taught in schools, they should stand in next month's school board elections.
A select committee is considering a petition calling for compulsory lessons on the New Zealand Wars of the 1800s, but the Education Ministry says it's unable to impose that in the curriculum.
Ms Parata says many people don't understand New Zealand's self-managing approach to education, where the curriculum identifies basic values and learning areas, and schools make their own decisions about how to achieve the desired outcomes.
At the instigation of former associate education minister Pita Sharples, her ministry has developed resources to help schools teach Maori history, and iwi are also finding ways to collaborate with schools in their rohe.
"One of the ways that local whanau, hapu, iwi can be more directive in the sorts of topics that might be taught at their kids' schools is to run for the board. It happens every three years. I have now twice encouraged Maori to get involved in their local board election, get on the board, to be get involved in the discussion about what is taught, what they want to see happening and how they can help that occur," she says.
Minister Parata says there is nothing better to help children understand than by anchoring the curriculum in local examples.
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