Govt wants citizenship
Government agrees that more should be done to continue to improve New
Zealand civics and citizenship education in schools.
It makes this point for Parliament
in February 2006 in responding to two Parliamentary select committees
that reported back to Parliament in August 2005 after public hearings.
Civics education for local elections
The Government backed “civics education” in its response to
the report of the Justice and Electoral Committee on the 2004 Local Authority
elections, chaired by current Labour whip Tim Barnett MP. The Barnett
committee said “all members except the ACT member recommend that
the Ministry of Education should be encouraged to strengthen the place
of citizenship education in the curriculum and make more teaching resources
available for this purpose”. The Government after noting the recommendations
of the committee said it “will address citizenship education as
part of the current review of the New Zealand curriculum”.
Civics to foster constitutional understanding
The Inquiry to review New Zealand’s existing constitutional arrangements,
chaired by United First leader Peter Dunne MP, recommended “to foster
greater understanding of our constitutional arrangements in the long term,
increased effort should be made to improve civics and citizenship education
in schools to provide young people with the knowledge needed to become
responsible and engaged citizens”.
In its response to the Dunne committee report the Government said it
“agrees that more should be done to continue to improve civics and
citizenship education in schools”.
Ministry of Education curriculum stocktake
The Government response recalled that in 2000 the Ministry of Education
initiated a stocktake of the New Zealand curriculum. The stocktake concluded
that “there should be more emphasis in the curriculum on citizenship
(local, national and global)”.
In March 2003, the government agreed to the establishment of the New
Zealand Curriculum Project to address the recommendations in the stocktake
report. This project is redeveloping the national curriculum “so
that the values, understandings and competencies for New Zealand students
are clearly articulated and there is clear focus on the quality of teaching”.
Citizenship education will be made more explicit
The Government response said through this process citizenship education
will be made more explicit in the national curriculum. Government said
schools will be consulted in 2006 and the new curriculum will be implemented
Assess what Government can do in other forums
“Strengthening citizenship education in schools is one way that
the Government can ensure that young people have the knowledge needed
to become responsible and engaged citizens. The Government is also committed
to continuing to assess what more it can do in other forums to strengthen
civic awareness among our young people, for example, celebration of national
events, open days at courts and citizenship ceremonies.”
By Anthony Haas, Parliamentary correspondent for Asia Pacific Economic
News and Director, Centre for Citizenship Education