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Education (Amdt.) (No. 2) Bill

Tuesday, May 02, 2000


Where are our priorities at a time like this? This is why I am looking at this first. We need to record the things that we have left undone, as we rush off to get new things done. There is going to be some kind of conflict as we go through this whole business of the school boards. If we had looked at the things which we needed to do, the necessity to hasten the school boards now, in this fashion, would not have arisen.

I am hoping that we cast our minds back a bit, look at what is happening with the school system, see if we could put some of those things in place before we move on to a new level, which is the institution of these local school boards.

Let me just look at what is proposed in the local school boards. If I had a preference I would not have gone the way of the local school boards at this time. I would have strengthened the existing structures before I moved into this. In fact, this could have been delayed. Let us look at the school boards.

The hon. Minister in her presentation talked about denominational boards. If I am correct, she complimented them. She looked at the successes of those schools and she made us believe that because they had these denominational boards they were more successful. Therefore, she felt that instituting local school boards in government schools would also assist these schools. What she was doing was equating the denominational school boards with what she wants to put in as the local school boards.

I do not believe that they are the same except that they are both called boards, but they are quite different. I want to get that quite clear: the denominational board and these local school boards are two different things. The denominational school board is one board for all religious schools, as you would say and that board concerns all the schools under it, so you have the Anglican school board, the Roman Catholic school board, one or two different Hindu school boards, the Muslim school boards, the Seventh Day Adventist school boards, and Methodist school boards, and they take care of all their schools.

What we are instituting here is the local school board for government schools, one board for one school, and that is entirely different. What worried me is this: How come, as a Government, we will want to put in the government schools, a board for each school, as if the other schools were not our schools too. [Desk thumping] We are getting this thing wrong. We are looking at public schools against private schools and then you could tell me that in your public schools you

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