READER REPORT:

Six things Kiwi kids should learn

MATT ROBINSON
Last updated 05:30 31/07/2013
Classroom
JOHN HOBBS/Fairfax NZ
THE RIGHT STUFF: Is New Zealand's school curriculum not practical enough?

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There are some important skills New Zealand young people are missing out on, making them unprepared for the real world.

1. Driving: Why not make driving part of the school curriculum? It is a real practical skill that makes young people more employable. Teaching young people who are old enough to drive the road rules at least could do wonders for traffic safety among young people.

2. Finance: Everything from teaching teens how to pay power bills and rent to being wary of bank loans and credit cards. If you can justify teaching students to find the X in a theoretical algebraic equation, surely you can justify money management. Too many people get way over their head in credit card debt with some thinking it's free money.

3. Democracy: The youth turn out at elections in New Zealand is abysmal. One term in Year 9 social studies on NZ politics just isn't enough. Young people need to know that their votes do matter. They need to know exactly how our voting system works. This is not to be confused with political indoctrination. Just an understanding of why they should vote and how.

4. Real computer skills: We live in a digital world where everyone uses computers. But when something goes wrong many young people are clueless as to how to fix them. Teaching true computer literacy is key for a future-thinking economy. Young people need to know more than how to update their Facebook page and find cat videos on YouTube. Having a 13-year-old typing away on Mavis Beacon for hours is not teaching them computer skills.

5. First aid: Another practical skill that can be learned as an option in some schools, but not part of the curriculum. Why not? Imagine the deaths and further injury that could be avoided if every young person new the most basic First aid.

6. Swimming: Some schools do still teach some swimming but many don't. Not all schools can afford a pool, but many areas do have public pools available. New Zealand has one of the worst drowning rates in the world. Too many children are going to the beach and never coming back. We are a nation of islands. Why are so many of our children not confident in the water?


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