Education (Amdt.) (No. 2) Bill
Tuesday, May 02, 2000
[SEN. PROF. RAMCHAND]
want to look at the composition of the boards and the regulations. In the next movement, I want to look at the hon. Minister's discussion of the composition of the Boards and their powers and duties. I am looking at the composition and regulations and the Minister's explanation of these because I believe this is a crucial area and I want to show what I said I believe about local school boards- that they will not have the effect of lightening the duties of Ministry officials or of improving the quality of education and you can see that, if you look at the composition and the regulations.
There have been a number of references to the difference between the Government schools and the assisted schools. I want to say my bit on that too, and to suggest that the local school boards that are now being proposed are toothless, financeless, powerless when compared with the boards that have been permitted to exist for the operation of the assisted schools. If we are about to create local school boards to carry out the functions that the school boards for the assisted schools are carrying out, then there should be some kind of parity in provisions for these boards. But we will go into details about that.
I want to look at the Education Act to see where the difficulties that we are now in, really began. First of all, I want to point to the failure of successive governments to do what the Education Act permitted them to do. It is that failure that has led to the present administrative logjam and the consequent under- development of many of our schools.
In the final movement, I want to look at the poor beleaguered school supervisors, and to suggest ways in which we might sit together and invent a new kind of school board that would take advantage of the strength of parents, family, community, educational professionals and teachers, all working together within particular regions. So those are the points I want to cover.
The proposal to establish local school boards has to been seen in the context of two major problems. The first of these is the undoubted lack of success of over 50 per cent of our schools. I would just like to read a comment from the Education Policy Paper 1993—2003, submitted by the National Task Force on Education which is now a White Paper. That task force says:
“Many schools in our nation are run down, not only in the physical and social sense, but also from the perception of the organizational, administrative and professional qualities that are expected to exist therein. Schools like the rest of the system, exhibit symptoms of organizational pathologies, low levels