National says it will rewrite the New Zealand curriculum if it wins the election.
Leader Chris Luxon describes the current state of education as “alarming”.
The announcement follows the Herald’s launch today of Making The Grade, a series on the challenges facing our education system.
Last week, tens of thousands of teachers went on strike demanding better pay and conditions, forcing the closure of schools across the country.
Luxon said educational achievement has been declining for the past three decades.
“A recent NCEA pilot exposed just how far achievement has fallen, with a staggering two-thirds of students unable to meet the minimum standard in reading, writing and maths.
“National will not allow this to continue. National will make sure every child leaving primary and intermediate school can master the basics so they can succeed at high school and lead fulfilling lives,” he said.
The first part of the party’s education policy, Teaching the Basics Brilliantly, would be announced by Luxon tomorrow in Hutt Valley, Wellington.
The party’s curriculum would detail knowledge and skills that primary and intermediate schools must cover each year in reading, writing, maths and science.
“At the moment, one curriculum level can span several school years, which makes it difficult to identify and help children who are falling behind,” he said.
“Evidence shows children’s abilities are often underestimated and therefore the looseness in the New Zealand Curriculum means some Kiwi kids are learning the building blocks of reading, writing and maths later than they should.
“The curriculum also adds a significant workload for teachers who are constantly having to work out what to teach and when.”
He said people needed a lot more than “Labour’s curriculum refresh”.
“We must be more ambitious for our children.
“If New Zealand wants to turn around declining achievement and ensure every child makes consistent progress, we need a curriculum that provides clear and detailed guidance to teachers and parents on what students should be learning each school year.
“National will deliver that and give every child the opportunity to succeed.”
Luxon said education was critical to unlock a better future for all New Zealanders and to equip the next generation with the skills and knowledge they needed to succeed.
“A world-class education system is essential for driving social mobility, helping break cycles of poverty, and giving every child the chance to live the life they want.
“We cannot have world-class incomes and living standards without a world-class education system.”
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