Extra support for maths and science

13th February 1998 at 00:00
NEW ZEALAND. A New Zealand plan to boost the achievement of eight and nine-year-olds in maths and science has won the approval of teachers and academics.

Many if not most primary teachers (in both New Zealand and Australia) lack qualifications in maths and science and are often afraid to teach the subjects.

"These subjects do not get the attention they deserve," said one teacher-educator. "Any moves for greater support and resources will lift standards."

The nine-point plan includes a science and maths Internet site, videos or CD-Rom, two new science guidelines and a maths guideline for primary teachers, plus new maths, science and technology journals, to be published in April.

Teachers and academics also welcomed initiatives to provide special assistance to Maori and Pacific Island children.

Wyatt Creech, the education minister, said that New Zealand children had not performed as well as they should on international tests in maths and science tests for many years. The measures were designed to improve the support and guidance for teachers of maths and science, and took account of all the recommendations from a mathematics and science taskforce which reported last year.

Mr Creech said the cost would amount to almost NZ$9 million (Pounds 3.2m) over three years for classroom resources and specialist support for maths and science teachers using the Maori language.

"Providing teachers with practical assistance and training as recommended by the task force should go a substantial way towards raising achievement levels of young people," he said.

Geoff Maslen

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