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Contact:
Foundation for Economic Growth,
P.O. Box 10-282,
Wellington, N.Z.
Email
The Foundation for Economic Growth is a group of like-minded individuals who have decided to act rather than accept New Zealand's continuing poor economic performance. The Foundation is not affiliated with any political party. Add Your Comments here.

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Most recent update: Oct 21st, 2014 - 15:25:19

Newsletters : Current Newsletters : 20 October 2014
Thought for the Day

This morning I listened to a recording of Q+A and heard the four candidates for leadership of the Labour Party talking about what they would do if they became leader.

It struck me once again how our politicians all promise things like "a world class education system" and so on down the list of health, welfare etc. Vague promises and no doubt sincerely meant but I have never yet seen any bold new initiatives started - let alone finished.

Our Education system is really just the 'same old same old' that I left in 1968 as a maths teacher in Kaikorai Valley High School, Dunedin. The teachers are almost all honest sincere and hard working people who do a great job for their pupils but the system is not user oriented and continues to be a huge bureaucracy designed to protect the teacher unions and the Ministry from any alarming change.

We claim that higher education is the right of all and that it is the secret to building a wealthy country yet we gained our wealth and status of number three in the world from 1900 to 1950 when only a very small minority went on to tertiary education. When we did spend great amounts of money developing a large government institution for education and expanded our tertiary sector extensively we started losing our relative wealth and dropped down the wealthy list to about number 40 in the world when I last looked. Not only that but we seemed to have more problems than ever in our primary and secondary schools.

As in all economics questions we do seem to struggle to connect up cause and effect. So - although my tongue is a bit in my cheek from the previous paragraph I think we can conclude that we do seem to be a bit lost in the foggy marshes of welfare state education.

We struggle to make progress and seem entirely bereft of ideas that might help the pupils. Our country has now gone so far down the list of wealthy nations that our education priority has become to develop a system for providing breakfast and lunch for hungry kids. Or perhaps it is not just a question of wealth but of the welfare state itself so sapping initiative that a large number of our population just leave everything to the government to fix. Seems fair enough given that every three years the politicians stand up at election time and promise to do everything for everyone in the cradle to grave welfare state.

So I would like you all to consider what Sugata Mitra has done for the education of poor children around the world.

He has provided an amazing education for poor and illiterate children entirely without teachers.

He has also continued this effort into ordinary schools where poverty is not the problem.

Life without teachers! Sounds ridiculous but wait until you view the attached video.

Maybe our Ministry of Education can make something of this for all students - especially the poor kids in the Far North about which we hear so much these days.

Watch this video - I guarantee that you will love it!

Visit Website ]
Oct 21, 2014, 10:58