South Auckland principal hopes TV presenters understand school content

April 12, 2020

The Ministry of Education will deliver 17,000 digital devices to students who are under-resourced during lockdown. Photo/RNZ

By Elijah Fa'afiu - elijah.fa'

A South Auckland school principal hopes the presenters of new educational TV channels understand the content they are delivering.

Otahuhu Primary School principal Jason Swann says the presenters need to be able to connect with learners.

“I think it would be important for the presenters to really know what they’re delivering and know the content and also know the pedagogy around how they deliver it.”

The TV channels are a part of a support plan package launched by Education Minister Chris Hipkins to help schools conduct distance learning once Term 2 begins this week.

Swann, who is also the President of the New Zealand Pasifika Principals Association, says it will be a learning experience for everyone involved.

“I think the fact that it's going to be such a huge audience, they’re really going to be, like most of us, learning as we go on different scenarios and different opportunities.”

Community feedback will be important as presenters will need to know whether their delivery of content in maths, English and science is meeting the mark.

“There needs to be some work around how the people who are presenting are getting the feedback so that in real time they can adjust what they’re doing and how they’re doing it.”

Some families from the Otahuhu Primary community are under-resourced  and Swann says they've been offered support.  

“It’s such a changing landscape particularly around employment and housing and finances that it’s quite ongoing, so we’re trying as best as we can to meet needs.”

Swann says the proposed television content targeted for Pasifika students is a chance for students of other ethnicities to learn more about Pacific Island cultures. 

“I'd expect the New Zealand curriculum will still be the basis of the learning. It’d actually be a really good platform to be able to have a greater awareness or a greater appreciation when we celebrate other cultures right throughout NZ.”

As part of the education support plan, 17,000 digital devices are expected to be given to students who do not have access to devices or the internet at home.

Jason Swann believes the announcement was a positive step and addressed the inequities of the education system.

However, he believes he wants families to be patient as it will take time to distribute the resources among the communities.

“I think some of the logistics around that will be a bit of a wait and see, depending on how many devices are available and how many modems are available.”

The support plan will also offer hard copy material packs as another learning option for students.

Swann approves of the multifaceted approach that has been taken by the government.

“It’s really good to see the government actually exploring all these different opportunities and also I think it sets the education workforce and the education sector up for any future possibilities that we could be faced with.”