The current Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, leader of the New Zealand Labour Party, took office on October 26th, 2017. A key priority for her government was a thirty year strategy to reform the education system. The strategy to execute on that priority relied on two bold Decisions:
- Take a 30-year approach to go beyond small wins and achieve something truly transformational across three generations
- Be citizen centric and develop the reform through collaboration across all key stakeholders in the system to prevent bureaucratic and politically driven decisions.
In February 2018, the Minister of Education Chris Hipkins followed up on this commitment by releasing details of an extensive three-year work programme to develop an education system that meets the needs of the 21st century from early learning through secondary and beyond. Minister Hipkins believes the system needs to be inclusive and able to adapt to the needs of the modern world. He stressed that achieving successful change would not happen “by dictating what ought to be done”. Instead, he committed to seeking broad engagement across the sector and the community as part of the change process and decided to launch a national Education Conversation, Kōrero Mātauranga. He asked to kick-start the Education Conversation with two “Education Summits” – large scale 800 person events in Christchurch and Auckland that would bring together all walks of life: students, parents, teachers, academics and employers, etc. A special emphasis was placed on inviting people and communities whose voices are not always heard. We were asked to co-design and deliver those two summits and initiate a long-term nationwide movement of change.