Tech sector concerned at slip in education standards

The fastest growing industry sector in New Zealand has reacted strongly to an international report that shows New Zealand has slipped backwards in education standards when compared to other OECD countries.

The latest OECD PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) survey revealed that New Zealand’s performance has gone backwards dramatically in maths, science and reading. New Zealand has gone from 7th to 18th in science and from 12th to 23rd in maths.

New Zealand Technology Industry Association Chief Executive Candace Kinser says we stand to lose our competitiveness against significant trading partners like China, South Korea and other Asian countries.

She says those trading partners are competitors in other markets where we are looking to sell our software and technology and they are streets ahead in these vital subjects.

Countries like Singapore, Poland and Germany rank above New Zealand and have positively increased their position since the last survey. Australia, Ireland and Denmark, despite also sliding backwards, still outrank New Zealand.

Kinser is calling on the government to act quickly to turnaround the situation and she suggests a good place to start is by learning from the countries that are getting it right with the education of their young. She says maths and science are critical subjects for New Zealand to be improving upon, not going backwards.

There’s also concern among leading businesses in the tech sector. Fronde is a major employer of IT professionals and its CEO Ian Clarke says math and science are both critical subjects for New Zealand students who want a career in the technology industry. He says he would like to see our young people excelling in these areas at school not going backwards.

Technology and innovation is the fastest growing industry in New Zealand, set to be the highest income earner for the country by 2020 and overtaking both dairy and tourism.

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