Monday, 18 February 2013

Don't close any Christchurch Schools

While it may be easy for number crunchers to add up figures when the sole focus of the exercise is economic, its obvious Hekia Parata has been TOLD it's not feasible (read Profitable) to maintain or rebuild many of the schools in Christchurch  and that lumping them all into one great big school stacks up really well, on paper. Cash up -move on seems to be one strategy.

But if Hekia Parata and the MOE did a level more careful analysis they would find out that schools have other values than just monetary ones. What is the real value or benefit perhaps to a community?
As a former teacher in a rural areas and former Christchurch resident I am familiar with many of the schools facing imminent closure. I can safely say the local school is often the hub of the community.It is a meeting point, a hall for hire, possibly a school pool for the community to use, social contact, employment and performs the requirement all children have to go to school.

After the Earthquakes many schools roles grew to become Quake Relief Centres providing water and food and information. When daily school life resumed children were scared, traumatised and changed.School was a return to time before the earthquakes and for many school represented stability. Not just for the children but the teacher and parents too.

But for the children school was the chance to resume a normal life , and practise the coping skills required to navigate through our new changed life and regain confidence. It is also the opportunity to celebrate their own survival and resilience and growth in the face of continued adversity.

I don't know whether its callous or moronic or both  but, not to make every effort to maintain Christchurch's excellent history of education, in a familiar environment -seems pretty little  to ask really!

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