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Citizenship education networking

Citizenship education networking took off in New Zealand on 22 August 2005. This was when 100 people from Parliament, government, education and the community interested in how citizenship education can contribute to managing and advancing cultural diversity in New Zealand assembled at Victoria University of Wellington to learn from each other.

The function was convened by the Centre for Citizenship Education in association with the Race Relations Commissioner, New Zealand Diversity Action Forum, Kiwi Ora and vicbooks at Victoria University of Wellington.

Thes networking function was followed the next day by the NZ Diversity Action Forum at Te Papa. Other initiatives to provide citizenship education for all New Zealanders, and some targeted on particular groups, are underway by some of the interests represented at the networking event.

The Centre for Citizenship Education (CCE) considers policy formation and professional development in citizenship education are still necessary for New Zealand. Some of that policy advocacy is reflected in the CCE submission presented to the inquiry into the 2004 Local Authority elections, chaired by Tim Barnett MP. It was reflected in the strong recommendations on citizenship education when the Barnett committee reported Parliament in early august 2005. "But we still have the challenge to build consensus shared objectives and a process to turn ideas into action" said CCE Director, Anthony Haas.

Our contemporary soundings in Parliamentary, government and education circles suggest leadership is required to produce a collective approach to pushing the citizenship education cause ahead after the election.

Emailed comment continues to be appreciated on the future agenda and processes for citizenship education networking to continue to assist us learn from each other he says.

The networking began with attention to these questions:

o define the need
o select appropriate educational techniques
o ensure creation and distribution of relevant resources and professional development
o get the appropriate institutions to accept their share of responsibility, and
o make the necessary long term baseline core and supplementary funding
o shape the national and local process within which citizenship education policy is made and delivered, and
o promote the policy settings.

The DecisionMaker Guide to Parliament and Government, first published in consultation with Parliamentary Service in 1990 for all New Zealanders and guided by a multi party editorial committee, is now being updated by Asia Pacific Economic News and participants on www.decisionmaker.co.nz

The Directory on Cultural Diversity, at http://www.decisionmaker.co.nz/directories/diversity/index.html, is a new example of citizenship education for migrants and hosts that the Centre for Citizenship Education has introduced in partnership with the Diversity Action Programme. Find out more about the CCE, at ..\indexcce.htm

Another provider of citizenship education for migrants is Auckland based Kiwi Ora, whose management representative Rob Pickstock is interested in following up initial networking at the August Wellington event to identify common interests. Email: Rob.Pickstock

The vicbooks Pipitea Campus shop facilitated the display of citizenship education and other resources from a range of publishers on 22 August - and is keen to assist future clients.
Email: Chris Murray

Many other ideas that were distilled at the August 2004 Forum on the Way Ahead for Racial Harmony, and the August 2005 follow up NZ Diversity Forum can be followed up with Race Relations commissioner Joris de Bres

These functions, and your own initiatives, coulld assist responsible people recognize and advance their shared interest in helping all New Zealanders participate most effectively in our system of government says Anthony Haas.

The 22 August networking function was designed to help bring together people in Parliament, central and local government and education who are interested in the development and distribution of citizenship education resources.

Our hope is that the gathering will contribute to the work others are doing - and foster a whole of government approach to policy development, professional development and publishing in the field of citizenship education has been well advanced by the quality of initial acceptances.

Background about participants

The initial networking function included elected representatives and senior officials from central and local government, strategists, policy analysts, diplomats, teachers, researchers, students, journalists, authors, editors, publishers, librarians, booksellers and people with a range of religious and ethnic backgrounds.

Initial participants included those with a background in:
o Parties in Parliament and former Parliamentarians

o Electoral Commission
o SSC information and communication technologies
o DIA citizenship services, Immigration settlement services
o NZAID Pacific programme for strengthening governance
o Ministry of Education social studies
o Local government at mayoral, council, intercultural relationships, governance, cultural and social wellbeing levels
o VUW schools of Government, Political Science, Law
o VUW Treaty of Waitangi research, Applied Cross Cultural research
o Futures studies
o Auckland and Wellington migrant services
o Multicultural education
o Social studies and history teaching
o Race Relations
o New Zealand resident Maori, Pakeha, Japanese, Chinese, Malaysian, Fijian and Tongan
o Interfaith dialogue processes, and Christian, Jewish, Muslim communities
o Workers education
o Unesco cultural and educational programmes
o Book marketing and distribution
o New media publishing and consulting

Updated 24 August 2005



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