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'Skills learning more important' than compulsory subjects


author:Parliament

"Schools should be teaching students skills they can use". That is the message from Chief Executive of Business New Zealand, Phil O’Reilly, before the Education and Science Select Committee at Youth Parliament on Tuesday.

The committee was considering whether certain subjects, like science, should be compulsory at school.

Mr O’Reilly said "old fashioned" methods do not teach students how to use them outside of school.

"Subjects like math’s or science are often taught poorly and are not taught in a real-world context."

Instead, he said schools should be connecting with workplaces to find out what they want.

"It’s a complex world out there, but making subjects compulsory misses the point.

"What we want them to do is learn skills, then use those skills in the workplace."

Select committee member Chris Ryan, the Youth MP for Botany, asked whether science could teach life skills to students.

In response, Mr O’Reilly said while science could teach valuable life skills other subjects could as well.

" Learning Maori could be business friendly," he said. "It teaches you skills about learning a language."

He said he believed science should be encouraged, not made compulsory.

"We’re not after people who can rope learn."

The Ministry of Education also submitted to the select committee.

It said the Ministry’s focus would be on the teaching of math’s and science in primary schools.

"We want it so that in years 9 and 10 students are excited about science or math’s."

The Ministry was clear the countries with the most successful education systems were based around flexibility, rather than a strict curriculum.

EduSearch.co.nz 2012