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Hekia Parata

20 June, 2013

Minister returns from successful trip to Chile

Education Minister Hekia Parata says her trip to Chile highlighted the strength of the New Zealand education system and affirmed the direction we are taking in focusing on quality.

Ms Parata’s visit built on the very successful trip Prime Minister John Key made in March.

Ms Parata addressed the 13th national education seminar organised by Libertad y Desarrollo in Santiago, which was attended by over 1,000 teachers from public schools, principals, country school managers, educationalists, and other key sector stakeholders.

Ms Parata’s presentation was on ‘The Keys to Public Education Success in New Zealand.’

"Our education system has a number of keys to its success including self-managing schools governed by parents, a highly qualified, highly skilled, highly trusted teaching profession, a bicultural and bilingual national curriculum, quality review and evaluation, and a strong qualifications framework.

“The New Zealand education system is held in high regard by Chile and the educators I spoke to were extremely interested in how we recruit, train and develop our teachers, our qualifications framework, how our Education Review Office works and what role parents play in our education system."

Ms Parata also spoke to over 100 educators at the research centre, Fundacion Chile, on ‘Professional Development of Educators in New Zealand: The key to a Globally High Performing Education System.’

“Like New Zealand, Chile recognises that raising teaching quality and leadership is crucial to raising achievement, and building skills and pathways to success are essential. Ministers were particularly interested in our qualifications framework and how we assure quality.’’

Ms Parata met with Chile’s Minister of Education Carolina Schmidt and invited Chile to the International Summit on the Teaching Profession which New Zealand is hosting in March next year. The Summit involves the 25 top performing education systems in the OECD, and the 5 fastest rising. Chile is one of the five fastest rising.

Ms Parata also met with the Minister of Economy, Development and Tourism, Felix de Vicente and announced a new exchange programme which will see seven 15 and 16 year-old Spanish language students from New Zealand travel to Santiago later this year.

The “Flying Kiwis” programme has been developed in response to the highly-successful Chilean government-sponsored “Penguins without Borders” programme, which was piloted in New Zealand this year, and saw forty Chilean students come to New Zealand to live and study for two terms in the first half of the year. Another 100 students will arrive later this year.

"It is great that we have the benefit of these programmes both in New Zealand, and for New Zealand students now able to study in Santiago.’’

Ms Parata also met with Chile’s Minister of Labour, Evelyn Matthei and Minister of Agriculture, Luis Mayol and discussed vocational training and its role in increasing productivity, youth transition services, opportunities for Mapuche indigenous peoples to connect with iwi development initiatives, and the NZ qualifications framework.

“I think sharing information about New Zealand initiatives and sharing New Zealand expertise and services will be of great value to both our countries. There is a huge respect for New Zealand and a great deal of appreciation for the Prime Minister's visit, and the serious attention we are giving to the relationship between our countries."

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