So Tuesday last week, education became the overriding theme of the day. A new thought piece article came under my radar first thing in the morning: the value of inclusive education.
It’s the experience that occurs when different and diverse students learn side by side in the same classroom. This includes going on school trips and doing all things that makes kids grow into citizens. It recognises ‘uniqueness’ and accommodates them naturally.
More importantly for me, the article affirmed the approach the Education for All group has taken with its four priorities for Inclusive Education to become reality in New Zealand. These are:
- Well adjusted schools and communities,
- Confident and capable education settings,
- Strong leadership for inclusive education and
- Accountability, monitoring and enforcement.
It was good to share the article with the group that morning. Gave us all a nice buzz.
Then the contradiction
Same morning, on national radio, talking about NZ Education Goals (the lack of them rather) Kim Campbell as the head of the Employers and Manufacturing Association talked about wanting good citizens who can do basic things and went on to say ‘and you want an education system that fairly enables pretty much everyone, apart from people who are disabled in some way, to do that’. Ouch.
It would have been good if Guyon Espiner had been able to draw more from Campbell to clarify what he meant by that comment.
We have work to do. Within education and within the employment sphere. Hoorah to those who are bravely pushing conversations. Hoorah to those who are willing to engage too. We have knowledge, we have willingness, we have drive and we’re expanding our networks widely. We will keep doing this so next time Kim Campbell talks about the goal for education he will say:
‘we want an education system which enables everyone to be good citizens’