Eradicating a GERM infecting the education system was
a hot topic at the New Zealand Educational Institute primary
teachers' collective agreement talks yesterday in Dunedin.
Serious concerns were voiced by primary teachers and union
members about the Ministry of Education's latest offer, which
they believe is linked to a business model of education
driven by cost-cutting and competition.
About 350 primary school teachers gathered at the Regent
Theatre were told by the NZEI, the Government's policies were
based on an agenda known as the Global Education Reform
Movement (GERM), which had failed to improve pupils' learning
in other countries.
The ideologically-driven policies were based around
competition, data-based accountability, standardisation and
According to NZEI, GERM could already be seen creeping into
New Zealand's education system through National Standards,
league tables, charter schools and proposed performance pay
Following the meeting, the large and vocal group of teachers
spilled out into the Octagon with NZEI president Ian Leckie
and other union members to publicly voice concerns.
Mr Leckie said there was real concern the Government's
policies would damage New Zealand's "world-renowned"
equity-based public education system.
"Fortunately, there is an antidote to the GERM," he said.
He was confident the present education system, which
incorporated collaboration, equity, personalised learning and
trust-based professionalism, would provide the antidote
Other topics discussed during the meeting were charter
schools, National Standards and issues affecting Canterbury
The Dunedin meeting will be followed by meetings in Auckland
tomorrow, and Wellington and Hamilton next Tuesday.