Is this the best use of scarce funding or is it low on priority considering the real needs of te tai tokerau schools?
“As a principal for 40+ years, I am not as convinced and excited as some by this announcement!” stated Mr Newman President te Tai Tokerau Principals Association.,
“We know,” he continued, “that Physical Education, Arts, Music, Relationship Development, Tikanga, have all suffered in schools over the last 10 years as we followed yet another Ministers whim. They surely should be a priority ahead of teaching children Digital Technology.”
He continued, “I am not a Luddite re technology, but children are permanently harmed by not being involved in Physical Education Arts etc. They are not permanently harmed by perhaps not being able to code at 6 or even 10, a toy truck to go around a track. Great if they can, but after the first needs and priorities are covered!”
As far as he is concerned, he believes that although funding for Digital Technologies will be welcomed by many, (and it is only $24 million of new money not $40 as announced), in Te Tai Tokerau, and in many other areas of New Zealand, the appalling under funding of Special Needs, the total lack of Child Mental Health Services, are far more of a priority….
Mr Newman pointed out that is takes a year up here to get an assessment around Foetal Alcohol for instance, and those doing that are so busy, that once assessed, there is no help actually available! There are Primary and Secondary pupils seriously talking about and in some cases trying suicide and there are no or little services available at the top of the cliff, only when they have tried it! He says that teachers know that our supposed caring society is consigning huge numbers of children, the children who need Child Mental Health Services for instance (estimated at least 5 – 10%) to the future rubbish heap! He believes that the harm they will do to others and the harm they continue to endure, will not be helped in one little bit by this announcement.
Mr Newman stated, “Surely if we actually believe in caring for our most vulnerable children, before governments announce packages for the future, we should be covering the real urgent needs that are here and now, first! Surely these children should be the major priority for not only themselves but for society as a whole.
So if it comes down to a choice re Digital Technologies, and yes I know yet again its buzz words giving some people warm fuzzies and excitement, or funding such real needs, I know where we should be putting our money!”
President Te Tai Tokerau Principals Association