My name is Hekia Parata and I’m the current Minister of Education. I’ve recently received the confidence of none other than the Prime Minister. It’s such an honour to be mentioned in the same sentence as the word confidence. You know, John Key doesn’t often say very much, but when he does speak, it’s both beautiful and light on the syllables.
Tonight I’m planning to talk about the all new teacher registration body I’ve called EduCANZ – the Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand. It was important we added in “Aotearoa” to the title because of our commitments to Te Tiriti o te Waitangi and easily pronouncable acronyms.
There has been some concern expressed by people working in the education community that EduCANZ will become a kind of proxy board appointed by the minister and tasked with getting rid of anybody who disagrees with government policy. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Let me elaborate.
The board of EduCANZ will be appointed by me. We have a huge pool of talent available to us which I will be completely ignoring and instead appointing only people I either know personally, am related to (including by marriage), or are members of the various business lobby groups who often wine and dine members of the National Party at the many official and unofficial functions held around New Zealand.
The board of EduCANZ will be responsible for the registration and defrockulating of teachers. I would like to draw your attention to this document on the State Services Commission website. Teachers must be fair, impartial, responsible and trustworthy.
We know most New Zealand teachers are fair and reasonable – except Mr Duncan from Girls High back in the 70s. He was particularly unfair and had bad breath and egg on his polyester tie.
New Zealand teachers are responsible. Mostly. Except for the occasional teacher who features heavily on the WhaleOil blog for doing something allegedly, teachers can be a very responsible bunch.
Teachers are also trustworthy. Not as trustworthy as, say, a banker or a journalist/blogger protecting their source, but trustworthy nonetheless.
What New Zealand teachers are lacking in (only slightly) is impartiality. Teachers need to realise they are public servants and it is important for them to be totally and utterly impartial reflecting the political neutrality we’ve come to expect from a strong and vibrant public service – particularly if that impartiality reflects National Party policy.
Of course, current members of the NZEI and PPTA will not be able to apply for EduCANZ registration until they have renounced both their membership of those organisations and signed an impartiality contract witnessed by a Justice of the Peace and renowned educationalist David Farrar.
I hope this clears up some of the issues surrounding the changes to teacher registration.
H Parata, Wellington.