Pupils make their views clear over education
A banner signed by Canterbury schoolchildren has been presented to politicians discussing how to reform the country's education system.
The petition, urging MPs not to make "sweeping changes", was presented to a parliamentary select committee hearing submissions on the Education Amendment Bill in Christchurch yesterday.
University of Canterbury political science lecturer Bronwyn Hayward, who organised the petition, said more than 1100 people had signed the online version since it was launched, while the physical banner had also been popular with children.
"Lots of schools made their own calico bits to add to the banner - that's why it's so long."
Hayward, who made a submission to the select committee, said she was concerned about the bill's far-reaching plans to "deregulate" education which would allow private organisations to administer schools with little scrutiny or regulation.
"In effect, they'll be handing a blank cheque for a company to run a school for children, with no real idea of who they are and no real control over what they teach," she said.
Politicians needed to balance the need for innovation with the best interests of children, she said.