Reported on: June 10, 2012 10:51 AM
Reported in: Education
June 10 (UNB) - The Government of New Zealand has backed down on a proposal to increase class sizes after a major campaign led by EI’s affiliate, the New Zealand Educational Institute Te Riu Roa (NZEI), which mobilised support from people across the whole country.
The Minister of Education, Hekia Parata, announced in the Parliament that the Government will not go ahead with changes to student-teacher ratios planned in this year’s budget.
The reversal by the Government resulted from the enormous pressure from teacher unionists and the education sector, joined by huge numbers of parents and members of the wider public.
The Government expected to save about $174 million over four years by changing the student-teacher ratios used to determine school funding.
This would have meant the loss of more than seven teachers for some intermediate schools across the country.
NZEI President, Ian Leckie, thanked all people who supported the teachers’ struggle: “We have had a huge win.
And it's because of the power of each of you acting collectively that this has happened so quickly. We've shown that educators and parents pulling together in the best interests of children can actually move the Government.”
Leckie went on to say: “The class size policy is but one battle and we have many challenges ahead - including proposals for performance pay, the introduction of charter schools, the publication of primary school league tables and cuts to early childhood education funding. But we have shown the Government how powerful we can be, acting together.”
A global issue
EI has noted that increasing the student-teacher ratios is being used more frequently by Governments worldwide as a way to cut spending on public education, which they justify because of the economic crisis. Such policies undermine the right of every child to access a quality public education.
EI, therefore, welcomes the success of the NZEI campaign in persuading the Government to rescind its decision to increase ratios. EI also supports teachers across the world in their struggle to build and maintain quality public education systems.