For the meeting held from 10am–11pm on 05 June 2007, via Teleconference Present: Margaret Austin, Ian Shaw, Alan Parris, Liz Richardson, Di McCarthy, Peter Spratt, Julian Taite. Apologies: Barbara Benson, Suzanne Bonniface, Robyn Baker, Pam Williams.
1. Minutes of the previous Meeting
Moved that the minutes of the previous meeting be accepted as a true and accurate account of what transpired at the last meeting. As the Chair was the only person present who attended the last meeting, she will sign the minutes to acknowledge that they are correct.
2. Matters Arising
2.1 Olympiads The Royal Society has received a reply from the Ministry of Education regarding the Olympiads. The Ministry of Education will inform us of developments. The Committee was informed that the Mathematics Olympiad team leaves in July 2007. However, the other teams lack funding. It was suggested that these issues be raised with the Ministry and the Committee request further support from them.
An official response may be needed.
2.2 Response from Te Puni Koriri, Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs and the Tertiary Education Commission The Chair reported that she has received replies from Te Puni Kokiri (TPK), Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs (MPIA), and the Ministry of Education (MoE). Neither TPK or MPIA provide scholarships. MoE have 3 teacher development programmes; the first is “the Quality Teaching Research Development Project”. The second is “Evaluation of Education for Sustainability”. The third is “Implications for the Reviewed Technology Curriculum in Classroom Research and Materials Development for Teacher Professional Support”, which is currently in the process of a request for proposal.
It was suggested that the committee maintain contact with the project managers to keep up to date with progress for those projects.
2.3 Stock take of S&T Teachers Resources An analysis report on the data received from the Ministry of Education regarding information on teachers of science, mathematics, social sciences and technology was circulated.
The Committee noted the following points: The level of Qualifications held by teachers has dramatically decreased, especially in technology. The increase in the number of mathematics, science, social sciences and technology teachers with no qualifications is concerning. The committee felt that a response to this data was needed. Selection for those people who will undertake teacher training is becoming more critical to the quality of the teachers produced. The quality of preparation for this training is more important. It was suggested that the Ministry of Education should be engaged in a debate regarding recruiting and mentoring graduates into science teaching. This data has identified that there is a need to make science teaching more attractive so that it will attract quality graduates. It was also suggested that a high level round table be set up to discuss the issues identified in the analysis report. People with different experiences should be included in these discussions to get a wide ranging view of the issues. The Ministry of Education, the Teaching Council, and the PPTA will be invited to participate in these discussions. This would fit within the evaluation of the teaching resource in the work plan. This would be the first steps and would get the debate off the ground.
2.4 Education Leaders Forum RSNZ is waiting on a response from Lyal Lukey. Peter will follow this up.
2.5 Research Projects related to science education Alister is in the process of compiling all the research being done in New Zealand.
2.6 Correspondence Di McCarthy reported that she met with Sir Ron Carter about the paucity of science and technology teachers in schools. Ron was looking specifically at the flow through into engineering enrolments at University. This does however, relate to a broader area of science and technology teaching in schools. Di also expressed support for the idea of establishing a high level round table discussion on the shortage of suitably qualified teachers and teacher training and offered her full support. 2.7 Letter to the Select Committee Chair Margaret reported that the letter regarding the technology curriculum has been sent off to the chair of the select committee.
3. Chairs report
3.1 Education Policy and Strategy Paper The Chair gave an overview of all the events that she has attended recently as the Education Committee representative. Peter and Margaret met with Helen Anderson to discuss items that have been on the Education Committee Agenda. Helen Anderson gave Peter and Margaret copies of “Staying in Science 1 and 2”. Margaret outlined some of the comments she found in the Introduction and the Executive Summary which suggest that students are not motivated to continue in science. The report recommends that a number of measures be taken to encourage more students to continue with science. Therefore, practicing teachers need to be involved in the round table discussions.
3.2 ICASE Conference The Chair reported that she and Peter will be at the ICASE conference in July 2007. UNESCO, RSNZ and the Council of Humanities have launched prizes of $1500 each for secondary students who submit work relating to ‘Being a New Zealander’.
3.3 Starlight Reserve The Chair reported that she is involved in trying to advance the establishment of a Starlight Reserve in the Tekapo-McKenzie basin during a World Heritage Committee meeting at the end of this month. The Chair has an agreement with the director of the Heritage Committee to visit the basin for two days. 3.4 Evaluation Panel for research in Portugal A contact at UNESCO has asked the Chair to provide names of people who could be considered for a panel that will evaluate research in Portugal. Names have been submitted to UNESCO. 3.5 Science Badges A number of Christchurch schools are awarding students with badges for achievements in science. RSNZ could get involved. Margaret would like more detail. This Science badge programme is being run by a small group of Christchurch teachers. It was connected to the science teachers association and there were concerns about the effectiveness of this type of initiative. Initiatives such as these would be better targeted towards 8 and 9 year olds. It does work for some kids and it should be kept on the agenda.mVuW is working on a similar programme in partnership with ESR. This programme is working in low socio-economic areas to boost science in those communities. There is a pilot bid in the work plan.
The Chairs report was accepted.
4. Links between RSNZ communication and Education. There have been discussions between the RSNZ education and RSNZ communication regarding a proposal to Council for a full time position in the communications area. The proposal will see half of that positions time allocated to Education.
5. Youth Initiative
Exploratory work will be carried out to find out what’s going on in one or two areas. Following on from that initial search the Royal Society will aim to promote those activities by raising awareness and getting kids and parents engaged. RSNZ would then like to monitor those programmes to see what the outcomes are for local students and parents. This is in the work plan and the Committee would be able to report on it from time to time.
6. Draft Work Plan
‘The Royal Society Science and Technology Policy Paper’ was circulated to the Committee. An overview of the recommendations were given. The Committee would like to express their compliments and congratulations to Peter and the Education team for setting out a clear and detailed work plan. There was discussion regarding a few points of clarification within the work plan. The work plan was endorsed and accepted. It was agreed that the work plan be presented to council
7. Teacher Database The aim of this project is to help develop an understanding of the issues relating to teachers. Peter explained how the database will be developed. The database aims to include Science and Technology Teachers contact details. A letter will be sent to all schools inviting teachers to sign on to this database. A follow up letter will be sent to all those teachers who do not respond to the initial letter. The Committee has already been trying to get this type of information. It has been quite a difficult task to carry out and this project will help a lot with current projects. 8. Teaching for Sustainability Conference Pam to provide comment for the minutes.
9.General Business 9.1 The Draft Curriculum The draft curriculum is still with the Ministry and they are reworking part of the curriculum that will go to cabinet. 9.2 Maori and Pacific Island Case Study Recommendations A list of Maori and Pacific Nation Science teachers has been compiled and the pilot Hui is still being planned. Meeting closed at 11am