New Zealand Leaders Have Divided Opinions On Online EducationBy Emily Marks
New Zealand leaders are divided on the concept of online education. The nation's political party, known for its charter schools, is very open to the idea. Another leader, though, thinks that it will "damage the state education system most children rely on."
News Hub reported that the proposal, named "COOL" (Communities of Online Learning), would allow kids to be taught at a computer at home rather than in a classroom. It will definitely replace going to a traditional school. David Seymour, ACT leader, agrees with it and thinks that it's a brilliant idea.
"It's quite possible that you're going to have a person whose particular circumstances are such that they haven't got on very well in the existing school system, and this is the solution that will work with them," he said.
"The internet is changing many industries very rapidly, and it will change education too. The question is whether the New Zealand Government is going to be permissive to technological change, or stop it and let us fall behind the rest of the world."
On the other hand, the president of the Post-Primary Teachers Association (PPTA), Angela Roberts, disagrees. She believes that the proposal, deemed as the biggest shake-up of the education system since the 1980s, will damage the education system.
"Anything that increases privatization and reduces resources and support for the network of state schools is of course going to be damaging," she said.
Tracey Martin, New Zealand First MP, also criticized the proposal. According to her, it will devalue teachers and affect the development of social skills. She described it as the "largest social experiment on our children that we've ever seen in this country."
"I think it's terrible," Ms. Martin added. "I think they've got a cool catchphrase that they're trying to market an education system on. It's a disaster, an absolute disaster. This is one of the most dangerous things I've ever seen to education. It's the final nail in the coffin devaluing trained and qualified teachers in front of our children."