Media Release: Immediate
Joint media release: Hutt City Council, Open Polytechnic, GNS Science
Date: 23 August 2012
Teachers Learn New Skills To Teach Science To Primary School Students
Lower Hutt primary school teachers will be taking the lead in promoting science innovation through a new scholarship,
launched by Lower Hutt Mayor Ray Wallace today (23 August).
The graduate qualifications in primary science teaching offered by the Open Polytechnic are open to teachers across New
At today’s scholarship launch the Mayor announced 49 Hutt City Mayoral Scholarships for primary school teachers in Lower
Hutt. The scholarships will be funded by the Hutt City Council, Open Polytechnic and GNS Science over the next two
“Teachers will be able to learn new skills that will help them capture children’s interest in science,” says the Mayor.
“The best time to generate enthusiasm for science is at the primary school level and the Open Polytechnic has taken up
the challenge to lead the way.”
The Open Polytechnic graduate qualifications are designed to increase the confidence and ability of primary school
teachers to teach science.
The Mayoral Scholarships will cover the course fees for one teacher from each local primary school in Lower Hutt to
complete the Open Polytechnic’s new graduate primary science teaching qualification.
The Minister for Science and Innovation, Steven Joyce, in a personal message read at the launch, said the government was
committed to science and innovation in the delivery of prosperity and wellbeing for all New Zealanders.
He said by investing in science there was a better chance of finding innovative solutions to issues facing New Zealand
and the new course would help teachers bring science to a generation who are learning faster and earlier than their
Open Polytechnic Chief Executive, Dr Caroline Seelig, is enthusiastic about the new scholarship programme. “The teachers
participating in the scholarship programme will be able to fit their studies around their work,” she says. ”They will be
able to apply their learning into the classroom the next day.”
“I’m really hopeful we will see an upsurge in the number of scientists who are making ground-breaking discoveries – and
who will be able to credit their primary school teacher with having inspired them,” she says.
“We are also pleased that GNS Science is supporting this scholarship programme and has offered to host peer support
groups for Lower Hutt teachers during their studies.”
GNS Science Chief Executive Dr Alex Malahoff is delighted that Open Polytechnic has taken this initiative. “Children
need to absorb the passion for understanding the material world from teachers who can convey that passion. We are not
necessarily thinking about science career paths here. It is even more important that those children whose only formal
exposure to science is during their school years also become responsible citizens, and appreciate the value of science
to society and to the economy no matter what career path they follow.”
The Launch was attended by principals from primary schools in Lower Hutt.
For more information on the graduate qualifications in primary science teaching go to: www.openpolytechnic.ac.nz/campaigns/primary-science-teaching/
About Hutt City Council
Hutt City Council is committed to promoting science and innovation in Lower Hutt to grow future prosperity through new
technology and high value business. This includes developing the city as a good place to live with a mix of services and
facilities and easy access to recreational activities. This will encourage residents to live local while local industry
grows global business.
About Open Polytechnic
The Open Polytechnic is New Zealand’s specialist provider of open and distance learning, enrolling over 41,000 part-time
students per year. The majority of students are adult learners combining work and study, making the Open Polytechnic one
of New Zealand’s major educators of people in the workforce.
About GNS Science
GNS Science, Te Pū Ao, is the New Zealand research institute that focuses on geological resources, environmental and
industrial isotopes, and natural hazards. We apply our scientific knowledge from the atomic to the planetary scale to
create wealth, protect the environment, and improve the safety of people.
Building on over 140 years of continuing discovery, understanding, and application of science, we have over 380 staff
working at our research centres in Lower Hutt, Wairakei, and Dunedin.