Gerry Brownlee National Education Spokesperson
27 September 2001
PPTA's priorities questioned
National's Education spokesperson Gerry Brownlee is stunned that one of the major resolutions to come out of the PPTA's
annual conference is to campaign to make Maori a compulsory school subject.
"With almost half of our adult population technically illiterate it is unbelievable that our teacher union wants the
Maori language compulsorily taught in our schools. We must get New Zealanders competent in the use of the English
language before we even contemplate introducing a compulsory second language.
"Maori should be available as an option at secondary school, as are other languages relevant to today's world," Mr
Brownlee, a former Te Reo teacher, said.
"There are huge issues in education at the moment that I would have thought would be of more importance to secondary
school teachers than making Maori language a compulsory subject.
"The PPTA have an unresolved pay claim for more money and it looks like teachers will be going on strike in two weeks
time. Teachers have huge issues with work-rate, a crisis in teacher supply, problems with the implementation of a dumbed
down qualification - all of which the PPTA should be pressuring the Minister over.
"It is the grandstanding by the PPTA on issues such as compulsory Maori in schools that do its credibility no good. The
Education Minister has taken his eye off the ball in education and the PPTA should be focusing its effort on pressuring
him over more important issues," Mr Brownlee said.