Center on International Education Benchmarking

1. New Zealand Announces Overhaul of Education System

A major overhaul of New Zealand’s school system was announced this week by Education Minister Chris Hipkins. The reforms include: 1) the creation of the Education Service Agency to provide localized on-the-ground support to schools; 2) additional oversight of the Board of Trustees; a new independent dispute panel for schools; 3) enrollment zones that are managed locally rather than by individual schools; and a new leadership center for principals. “In making these changes, the government wants to strike a better balance between what should be provided and supported from the centre, what services should be provided locally and what is best delivered by local schools and their communities,” Hipkins writes in his foreword to Supporting all schools to succeed: Reform of the Tomorrow’s Schools system, the document detailing the government’s reform agenda. Changes will be rolled out over the next five to 10 years. Read more in 1 News Now, Stuff.Co.NZ and Newsroom.

New Zealand Education Minister Chris Hipkins
New Zealand Education Minister Chris Hipkins

2. Singapore Increases Focus on Moral Education for its Youngest Students

Ong Ye Kung
Singapore Minister for Education Mr. Ong Ye Kung

Singapore’s Ministry of Education has announced that it is reviewing its character and citizenship education (CCE) syllabus to put a greater emphasis on moral education at the lower primary level (students ages 7-9). The Ministry wants children to develop a sense of their identity and values from a young age. “These values will in turn guide the relationships they have with their families, peers, teachers and the community that they live in,” Education Minister Ong Ye Kung said. Character and citizenship education has always been part of Singapore’s education system, and the curriculum for this emphasizes values like respect, responsibility, resilience, integrity, care and harmony. The current syllabus for CCE was implemented in 2014 and includes sixty hours of curriculum time each year to this area for lower primary students. Read more in The Straits Times.

3. Union Finds School Funding Boost Across England Insufficient

The National Education Union (NEU), the largest union of educators in the UK, has found that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plan to invest £2.6 billion (US$3.3 billion) more in England’s schools next year will still leave the majority of schools with less per pupil funding than they had in 2015. Next year’s investment is part of Johnson’s three-year plan to spend a total of £14 billion (US$18 billion) more on schools in England. According to the NEU, 83 percent of schools will still have lower per-pupil funding rates than five years ago, even after they receive the first round of additional funding in April 2020. Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the NEU, commented: “Schools are losing support staff, dropping subjects, closing early and cutting corners on basic maintenance, just to get by.” Conservative Member of Parliament David Morris countered: “The reality is we are boosting schools funding by £14 billion over the next three years—meaning every pupil in every school will get more money, and funding across the country will be leveled up.” Read more from The Guardian

Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the NEU
Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the NEU

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