On the news this morning – TV3’s item about the government announcement that the first schools in NZ to be designed, financed, built and maintained under a public-private partnership are due to open at the start of 2013. NZEI president Ian Leckie spoke to Firstline’s Rachel Smalley this morning – watch the full interview here.
It was inevitable that such an initiative would find its way to NZ – I’m just surprised it has taken so long. Although Ian Leckie suggests there’s been no warning of this coming, talk of PPPs has been around for some time. In 2006 the education forum published a typology of international examples, that included many examples of privately funded schools (see p.65), and in the same year they published an article in their newsletter on lessons for NZ from the NSW experience in Australia.
Inevitably there are pros and cons to the argument – and that’s exactly the point, there are two sides to the proposal. There’s little point dismissing the idea outright when we are so patently struggling to support our existing system at a range of levels. But we need also to be considering carefully the lessons learned in other jurisdictions – both positive and negative, to ensure we make the right and appropriate choices and decisions in the NZ context.