A Gisborne school principal who is squawking about his charges being denied time off from their studies to attend a song-and-dance festival needs to think bloody hard about his priorities.
The bugger is reported to be riled after a request for schools in Tairawhiti to have time off during the Te Matatini o Te Ra Festival next year was refused.
It’s not fair, he reckons, because schools nationwide will come to a standstill for the Rugby World Cup.
The national kapa haka festival in February is expected to attract tens of thousands of people to Gisborne.
The school principal says he requested two days off for the “cultural importance” of the event.
Lytton High School principal Jim Corder says: “It seems to be appropriate to make changes for something like the Rugby World Cup but doesn’t seem to be appropriate to make allowances for events of cultural significance to the region.”
He sounds like a stroppy bugger, this Corder bloke.
He is also the Tairawhiti Area and Secondary School Principals’ Association chairman and he says having the school holidays rearranged for the Rugby World Cup is “ridiculous”, as most of the country is not affected by the cup.
Actually, Alf shares his concern that school holidays have been rearranged to coincide with the final two weeks of the tournament in Auckland.
And Alf is on Corder’s side when he says:
“It’s a little ridiculous to change school holidays, to be honest.
“It’s not really in the best interest of students for one sporting event to turn the country inside out.”
But Corder is a bit late to be grumbling now.
The Education Ministry instructed schools back in February that they must adjust their school terms to allow for a longer than normal holiday in October, when New Zealand hosts the final stages of the international sporting event.
Terms one and two have been extended, forcing the term breaks to fall later than they normally would.
The fourth term, when senior students take their external exams, has been cut by two weeks.
Several secondary schools criticised the changes at that time, saying they will disrupt exam preparations in October.
There’s rationale of sorts for the changes: they have been made to ease pressure on traffic flows and public transport, mostly in Auckland.
Oh, and the decision to change the school year was made way back in 2007 by then-Labour education and Rugby World Cup minister Trevor Mallard.
The education sector was consulted widely – the way Alf recalls it – and the total length of the school year remained unchanged.
That’s a bit different from taking two days off school to attend a bloody kapa haka festival.
It’s especially important that schools get to grips with improving the exam pass rates of their Maori students and encourage them to move on to tertiary education.
That Flavell feller – Te Roarer Flavell is it? – was bleating in Parliament only the other day about educational issues.
Much of the research states that Māori are at the bottom of the heap, he said.
Māori children in schools continue to underperform: in early childhood, primary and secondary schools, and universities, it is the same.
So I mourn for myself, my people, and the Māori people at large, at what these statistics and research show.
It is not as if these circumstances are of recent times. Not at all. It is something from years past.
So here we are now, and here I am asking questions: “Where do we look? Where is the way forward? Where is the vision that this generation is yearning for?”.
Let’s not forget the latest Maori unemployment figures “horrified Labour and the Maori Party”.
New Zealand’s unemployment rate surged back to a 10-year high in the second quarter of the year, it was revealed today.
While unemployment overall has increased from 6 per cent to 6.8 per cent in the Household Labour Force Survey, Maori unemployment is up from 14.2 per cent to 16.4 per cent.
“That means 26,400 Maori are now without jobs – an increase of 3600 since the previous quarter,” said Labour’s Maori affairs spokesman Parekura Horomia.
“The situation actually is even worse because the unemployment rate is higher in places like the East Coast and the Far North.”
And where is Corder’s school?
Oh, yes. Up the East Coast.
Alf rests his case. Keep the buggers at their desks to strengthen their academic skills.