HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 597: 05 January 2012

Mix of Education, Sport and Culture will strengthen ‘Lifelong Learning’
The ADB Public Sector Review report has identified the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport as one of its four priority sectors for first stage of the public sector change programme.
A copy of the report was last week released to the Herald by the Office of the Leader of the Opposition, in the public interest.
The first task will be appointing a new Chief Executive Officer, who will ascertain what Divisional Directors will be needed for the sector. Under the proposed structure for the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports, the review recommends a Director of Policy and Development, Director of Program Delivery, Director of Schools Management and Director of Regulatory Services. The timetable predicts that the final step of finalising staff appointments within the new structure of the ministry will take place by a deadline of March 31, 2013.
The merging of the Ministry of Education and National Human Resource Development is one of the first steps already taken towards the establishment of the new ministry. The new ministry will be predominantly education-focussed and the introduction of sports and culture into the education structure will “complement and strengthen the focus on education”. According to the report, the education emphasis is necessary to enhance and sustain preservation of language and culture. Language and culture will be “embedded” in education programs from early childhood right through to secondary school level. Furthermore, the education focus will contribute to the development of sports in the Cook Islands by improving the education and awareness component of sport. The report predicts that the resources pooled from the merger will strengthen sporting and cultural development programs, therefore supporting tourism in the long run where initiatives contain a sporting or cultural focus.
Many of the functions currently carried out by the existing sectors of Education, Sport and Cultural Development will be outsourced through various ways including Public Private Partnership setups, privatisation or in some cases the functions will transferred to other sectors. The report states that personnel requirements in the area of administration may “need adjustments”. Under the proposed Division of Regulatory Services, the Reo Maori Commission will be a part of Language and Cultural Standards.
The report makes keen reference to the concept of “learning throughout one’s lifetime”, which it believes will be strengthened under the new structure. It cites the merging of the Ministry of Education with NHRD as one avenue where the public will see the strengthening of this concept. The report says the lifelong learning concept can be developed and implemented in a more “organised and structured” way, with more resources to support this process. It is hoped that the priority of “informed communities” across educational, sporting, cultural and creative areas, as outlined in the report, can be achieved through this new ministry structure. -Ngariki Ngatae

Herald Issue 554 09 March
- Norm exposes Trio of Doom
- Briefs from PM’s media conference Tuesday
- Tourism Industry ponders $5 million draft strategy
- Norman George resigns from Cook Islands Party
- Letter of Resignation from CIP
- Norman selfish says Prime Minister

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