An inquiry by Parliament's education and science committee has not raised public passions as the Government did by proposing to increase school class numbers.
That's disappointing - the committee's work may significantly shape the way our schools are equipped and our children are taught.
Much more heartening, a bunch of school kids in Wellington recognised the importance of the inquiry and made a submission.
The inquiry - into 21st century learning environments and digital literacy - was instigated in April by Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye.
She noted the Government was investing more than $1 billion in ultra-fast broadband and planned another $1b investment through the Future Investment Fund to modernise schools.
She expects ultra-fast broadband will trigger rapid changes in schools and open up opportunities for online learning. The committee is examining issues such as flexible teaching spaces, finding how handheld devices can promote more independent learning, and ascertaining which technologies and infrastructure best support teaching and learning. Submissions have been drawn from teachers and other education professionals, Microsoft New Zealand and many from the ICT sector, and Sir Peter Gluckman, the prime minister's chief science adviser. He told the inquiry the digital world was leading to different ways in which the brain developed and different environments in which we learn. Today's children effectively were the guinea pigs in "a new world we don't fully understand".
The students of room 15 at Tawa Intermediate made a submission too, in the form of a five-minute video.
Four of them will give an oral submission (and have been given expert coaching in how to do this by a prominent corporate lobbyist, Mark Unsworth).
The Tawa children make good points.
Classrooms should be places where kids have fun while learning. They need to replace some old and frustrating computers. Can the committee help?
Their most telling point is that they may not be able to vote “but we still have a voice”. They have used it, setting an example in citizenship for the thousands who grizzle about Government policies but never bother to speak up.
- © Fairfax NZ News