New Zealand is about to introduce the biggest education reform of the past 27 years: it will strengthen the concept of homeschooling and online learning. In the future schools will have the chance to become a “community of online learning” (COOL) which allows their students to partake in class without actually coming to school. Education Minister Hekia Parata announced that he will set strict rules for schools planning to attend in the process of becoming a COOL. This way the politicians in charge for the education system want to face many young people’s reality of being permanently connected via technology. This option doesn’t mean the students can stay home on their own initiative – in fact it is the schools’ responsibility to create individual policies for its students.
But there are critics: according to the Post-Primary Teachers' Association (PPTA) the assumptions that support the idea of pure online learning are wrong. The learning effects of face-to-face learning can’t be fully achieved via homeschooling at the computer. Furthermore the PPTA anticipates a growing competition in the education market if the new reform will be introduced which does not necessarily result in better results of the students.
Editorial staff (sz)