Marlborough Express - Equipping our young people

Columns
Wednesday, March 11, 2015

I have visited a number of schools in the electorate and I have noticed that most school mottos or vision statements reflect the desire of the community to encourage pupils to achieve the best they can, to be well prepared for the future and to be lifelong learners.

I would like to think that every adult can look back on their education and recall a teacher who made a real difference in their lives. Good teachers and great schools need to be applauded for what they are doing.

I know that our education professionals work hard every day for our children, and the community needs to publicly recognise and encourage their contribution.
The Prime Minister's Education Excellence Awards celebrate teachers and schools delivering the best teaching and outcomes for the next generation.

The awards recognise the contribution made by teachers at every stage of a child's educational journey - early childhood through to secondary schooling. They celebrate the people delivering the best teaching to children, who raise the bar that bit higher.

The four main categories are: excellence in governing, excellence in leading, excellence in teaching and learning, and excellence in engaging. There are significant prizes for the winners in each category.

There is also an education focus prize which this year focuses on collaboration: creating learner-led pathways from early childhood to school.

I would love to see early childhood centres and schools in the Kaikoura electorate apply for these awards. We have very talented and dedicated staff who contribute a great deal to their schools and it would be fantastic to see them acknowledged.

Congratulations to Tom Parsons, principal of Queen Charlotte College, on his appointment to the judging panel.

Last week I was also delighted to see Minister of Youth Nikki Kaye announce a $900,000 funding package to deliver a range of business and enterprise initiatives targeting youth.

Young people are growing up in a rapidly changing world and it is really important for them to develop skills that will equip them to meet and capitalise on opportunities that may arise in the future.

The Young Enterprise Trust will receive more than $600,000 from this fund and the money will be used to extend the highly successful Young Enterprise Scheme. As a result, it is envisaged that a further 3000 young people will receive the chance to develop their entrepreneurial skills under this initiative.

Great teachers, good programmes and engaged pupils help ensure that New Zealand has a positive future.

Information on the Education Excellence Awards can be found at pmawards.education.govt.nz