18 Apr 2024

PSA astonished Education Minister expects hiring of contractors to review curriculum

7:48 pm on 18 April 2024
National MP Erica Stanford

Education Minister Erica Stanford expects writing experts will be brought in as short term contractors, to help write changes to the education programme. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

The Public Service Association is astonished the Minister of Education expects her agency to hire contractors to review the curriculum.

The ministry has proposed to cut more than 500 roles, including 200 in the curriculum centre.

But Erica Stanford told Morning Report it would also bring in writing experts as short term contractors, to help write changes to the education programme.

PSA assistant secretary Fleur Fitzsimons said hiring contractors was an appalling solution when people who could do the work were losing their jobs.

"The government promised a crackdown on consultant and contractor spending, today's revelation is hypocritical and may end up costing more in the long run. It does not this make sense.

"They are decimating the ministry at a time losing important capability in critical areas like the review of the curriculum."

The public sector cuts were reckless and had not been thought through, she said.

"Given the breadth and depth of these brutal cuts it's clear that very soon ministries will be forced to bring back contractors just as happened under the last National-led government. The government should be upfront about how many contractors it will need to do the work of dismissed public servants in all agencies.

"The minister's comments today expose the short-term decision-making behind this war on the public service."

Stanford said the majority of roles cut in the curriculum centre were involved with the NCEA change programme, which the government had delayed.

As well as contractors, the ministry would add roles to the curriculum team, including more staff in the regions to get more resources on the front line, she said.

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