Posted on 10 February 2014
From left: Open Polytechnic Chief Executive Caroline Seelig, Education Minister Hekia Parata and Lower Hutt Mayor Ray Wallace.
The Hutt Valley Primary Science Education Network, launched today (10 February) at an event jointly hosted by Hutt City Council and Open Polytechnic, aims to bring together key stakeholders, including school principals, to address challenges in science education in primary schools.
The collaborative network will provide a platform to build a strong collegial leadership base in science teaching in Lower Hutt primary schools as a result of principals and teachers sharing their experiences in this priority subject area for the government.
Principals from throughout Lower Hutt attended the event held at the Dowse Art Museum. Speakers at the event included Education Minister Hekia Parata, Lower Hutt Mayor Ray Wallace, and Open Polytechnic Chief Executive Dr Caroline Seelig.
During her speech, Dr Seelig pointed to the need to encourage more young people to study science so that they have better career opportunities in a world that is increasingly turning to science based innovations to remain globally competitive
“Research by the New Zealand Council for Educational Research has shown that the best time to build an interest in science is when children are at primary school. However, as a first step, we need to build the confidence of our teachers who don’t have a background in science.”
The Open Polytechnic has made their Graduate Certificate in Primary Science Teaching (Curriculum) fee free for 2014 so that practising teachers can strengthen their understanding of science so that they can confidently teach the subject to their students. The qualification is offered by distance learning so that teachers can immediately use what they are learning in their own classrooms.
Mayor Ray Wallace announced funding of $120,000 by way of a $2,500 Mayoral Scholarship to each Lower Hutt Primary School that has a teacher enrolled in the qualification for additional science resources in support of the teacher doing the qualification. “Giving primary teachers support to inspire our youth in the sciences will help transform the Hutt Valley into one of New Zealand’s leading export and economic growth centres, based on science, engineering and technology.”
The event concluded with Hon Hekia Parata reinforcing the government’s commitment to building science leadership in primary schools, and how local primary schools will benefit from the new teaching and leadership pathways announced by the Prime Minister in January.
The Hutt Valley Primary Science Education Network will be administered by the Open Polytechnic. For more information on the Open Polytechnic’s fee free offer for 2014 for the Graduate Certificate in Primary Science Teaching (Curriculum) go to http://bit.ly/MnIa80