It’s been a crazy few weeks for me since Christmas. Possibly only matched by the endorsement of Hekia as our “Great Communicator”. Or maybe the appointment of Stephen “You Break It, I’ll Fix It” Joyce to oversee the Novopay madness.
In any case, if you believe all is well in the education sector because the government appears to be “on to it” then think again oh ye of too much faith.
Let us first dig our tendrils into Mrs Parata who popped up the other day somewhere north of Christchurch clutching a spade and announcing, with great communicatory skills, that the government would be investing millions into Christchurch schools. Even building a new one!
When asked about Novopay said it was being dealt with and trotted out the pre-agreed government line of, “hindsight is a wonderful thing.”
As I, and a few others, have pointed out on twitter recently, foresight is slightly better. The main issue with Novopay along with many other vast government IT initiatives is that the people signing off on them have to rely so much on the “advice” of officials. The only thing they really know about information technology is checking their emails and sending their sister an animated birthday e-card with dancing kittens.
Mind you, if we stopped politicians from signing off on anything they didn’t know anything about then Bill English would have only ever been the Minister for Farming and Rural Voices with special responsibilities for Hiding His Income Stream in a Trust So He Doesn’t Have to Pay His Taxes.
As for Stephen Joyce. Apart from being the Minister for Business, Innovation and Everything in the Whole World, he is now the minister responsible for dealing with Novopay. On the one hand he has started off with a bang announcing a ministerial inquiry and a “technical audit” to ensure the robustness of the software (I appear to be using a lot of “inverted” commas today – this may be a direct response to my increasing cynicism towards this government).
Ultimately you can say all you like Your Joyceness, but the reality is that you and the previous Labour government made your decisions solely based on cost. The cheapest tender won through in the end. As I’ve said before, the cheapest doesn’t always work out to be the best – especially when those tendering didn’t really understand what they were tendering for because the people they were tendering for didn’t really explain properly to the people doing the tendering what they really and actually wanted from the thing that was being tendered for. Or something.
However, amongst the Novopay madness and the wondering about where Craig Foss is now, something popped up this morning that caught my eye. This little piece of interestingness that was featured on the Fairfax website Stuff this morning.
Imagine my surprise when I read this:
“We believe that the future of learning will be blended; students will combine learning from online and video technology with group work and individual study”
Nikki Kaye, Chair, Education Select Committee
Apart from not really marrying with the current National Party policy of OneSizeFitsAll education with their national standards and stuff, this is the most forward thinking thing I’ve heard from a government person. Ever.
This is how I actually think. School needs to almost like work – project based, rich experiences that are in context so we don’t get the disengagement that is really behind the “tail” that Hekia and her National buddies keep going on about.
The policy direction in education has, for a long time, been a “back in my day” attitude when it should really be “what do the learners of the future need” attitude. We need more of the thinking Nikki Kay has going on in her head to seep through to the empty vessels that make up the rest of her cabinet.
And I never, EVER, thought I would be commending someone from National about education.