Education system is failing children, endangering the future: Report

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Auckland, November 5, 2020

Children having fun with the Te Rito Toi arts resources for schools (Picture from Report)

Our education system effectively stifles children’s natural curiosity about the world, according to a new report from the University of Auckland.
The Centre for Arts and Social Transformation at the University’s Faculty of Education and Social Work has released its first report on the state of creativity in New Zealand schools, Replanting Creativity During Post-Normal Times.
Based on four years of work, the quantitative study is a world first, measuring 11 dimensions of what makes a creative environment in primary and secondary schools.
The Report said that across all school levels, children have declining opportunities to play with ideas.
Fewer chances for collaboration
As children progress through school there are fewer chances for collaboration, for working outside or across discipline boundaries and for taking risks and problem solving.
The end is that schooling fails to create the kind of citizens we so urgently need to succeed in the post-normal world in which we live.
Professor Peter O’Connor, who led the research, said that the results confirm the suspicion that decades of neglect of the arts in New Zealand schools has stripped life and colour from our schools.
“The arts and creativity have disappeared from schools as part of deliberate government policies for decades and this has serious implications for the future of work, democratic citizenship and for student well-being,” he said.
Systemic failure
Professor O’Connor sees this as a systemic failing brought about by decades of focus on literacy and numeracy at the expense of everything else schools could and should do.
“Teachers proved their hunger for the arts to return to New Zealand schools earlier this year when they engaged by the tens of thousands with the arts resources developed to support children during Covid-19,” he said.
The Centre for Arts and Social Transformation presented a public lecture on November 4, 2020, arguing for the place of the arts in schools.
The Te Rito Toi: The Twice Born Seed lecture was supported by the NZ Principals’ Federation, NZEI, PPTA, New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO, Creative New Zealand, Arts Access Aotearoa, Taumata Toi a Iwi, the Sir John Kirwan Foundation, the Chartwell Trust, Dance Subject Association of New Zealand, Drama New Zealand, Music Education New Zealand Aotearoa and The Big Idea.
The Report can accessed at: https://www.teritotoi.org/replanting-creativity-during-post-normal-times/

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