Concern over Education Minister’s disinterest in education trade deal

Posted By TEU on May 7, 2015 |

NZEI Te Riu Roa and TEU are very concerned about Education Minister Hekia Parata’s apparent lack of interest in the details of a secret international trade deal that would have a massive impact on public education.

In response to questions from Greens MP Catherine Delahunty in Parliament yesterday, Ms Parata said she did not have “primary responsibility” for negotiating trade agreements.

A leaked document has revealed that New Zealand is amongst a small group of countries pushing for education to be included in a secret trade deal, the Trade In Services Agreement (TiSA).

Ms Parata told Parliament she was relying on the Minister of Trade to seek any additional information “should he require it”.

NZEI Te Riu Roa National Secretary Paul Goulter said it was of great concern that the Minister wasn’t taking a stronger interest in the deal.

“The TiSA would restrict future governments’ rights to regulate the quality and provision of education, and would expose New Zealand to being sued by international education conglomerates like Pearson Group.

“The Minister’s response is simply not good enough,” he said.

“Teachers are calling on the government to withdraw New Zealand’s claim to extend TiSA to include private education services, and to expressly exclude education from the reach of TiSA.”

Tertiary Education Union (TEU) President Sandra Grey said it defied belief that the government could see any benefit for New Zealand in pushing for education to be included in the secretive deal.

“The only winners in such a deal will be the mega corporations peddling for-profit charter schools and one-size-fits-all text books and testing. The quality of public education in New Zealand will suffer as a result,” she said.

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