I have to confess to being a little anxious prior to her speech. Choosing to open a conference with a speech from a politician is a risky decision as it can be easy for the occasion to be used for political grand-standing that can negatively impact the tone of the rest of the conference.
in the end my concerns were unfounded – Minister Parata's address was superbly presented, with no rostrum to separate her from the audience and no notes from which to read a 'party line', she began by acknowledging and thanking the 1400 delegates for being present in what many would consider their holidays. She spoke with passion, determination and a commitment to supporting the profession, laying out her focus on (a) placing the learner at the centre of all we do, (b) a commitment to quality teaching, (c) raising student achievement, and (d) enabling all of this to happen through the use of ICT.
I took away a sense of stong commitment on her part as Minister, with the clear expectation that this be met by a similar level of commitment on our part, the educators present.
Thanks to the team at EdTalks for capturing her address and making it available.