Labour needs to do some research and catch up with what’s happening in the education sector, says Nikki Kaye, Associate Education Minister.
Following Labour’s education policy announcement, Kaye says that Labour has no idea what is already going on, and is promoting ‘new ideas’ already put in place by the National Government.
“Most of what Labour has announced today is already being delivered by the Government through its 21st century schools programme,” Kaye says.
“We have a massive build plan underway to modernise school facilities, upgrade school broadband networks and partner with communities to provide digital hubs through those networks.
"Our Ultrafast broadband and rural broadband initiatives are delivering fibre broadband with uncapped data to nearly every school in New Zealand.”
Kaye says that Labour’s device subsidy programme does not appear to have been thought through, and has an ‘amazing’ lack of detail.
“Are they really going to make the subsidy available to every one of the 580,000 children in years 4 to 13? How do they plan to deal with rapid changes in technology?
"Is the plan limited to one device throughout the period of the student’s time in school? If not, how many devices? How are they planning to deal with the interest costs?
“All these questions must be answered.”
Labour’s policy aims to enable all students to have internet access at home. However, just last year National announced a change in policy to permit schools to extend their internet to students’ homes in the area surrounding the schools.
Furthermore, National says it has already invested $35 million in Professional Learning and Development targeted at digital technologies. Labour’s policy states it wants to put money into professional learning development for ICT.
Labour’s policy outlines its aim to build an unspecified number of new schools and classrooms by the year 2030. Under the National Government 12 new schools have been opened in the past three years in areas of growth.
With the help of the Future Investment Fund, which Labour opposes, hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent building new classrooms and upgrading older schools.
Kaye says that Labour simply hasn’t done its homework, stating that the Government’s Future Focused Learning report sets out the direction that the National Government is going.
“Labour really needs to research what’s happening and catch up,” she says.