Clearer expectations of home learning required

Confirmation today that Auckland students will spend another two weeks trying to learn from home underscores the need for better guidelines to make sure kids are actually engaged in education, National’s Education spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says.

“Rather than shift the school holidays forward, the Government has preferred to carry on with home based learning for another two weeks in Auckland. 

“Learning from home is a lottery for our students, such is the huge variation in approaches taken by schools.

“The Government has been too loose in not even providing a baseline recommendation on how many hours students should engage in learning from home.

“Nor has there been any rigorous recording of the number of hours students were engaged in their school work while at home.

“Some schools are running the normal timetable of classes on line; others are merely checking in with students, from time to time. One principal candidly admitted online learning was a joke in her community.

“The United Kingdom and Canada, for example, issued minimum standards for the number of hours students should be engaged with their teachers dependent on their age.

“In contrast, our Government seems content leaving a kid’s education to chance.

“National is calling on the Government to put in place some baseline assurances in case of future lockdowns.

“Our freedom and return to a normal way of life depends on rapid vaccination and preparing our hospitals for opening up. Given the Government’s slowness on those things it needs to be better prepared to deliver education in lockdowns.”