Education, creativity, life and death by Angela Caldin

I was sad to see that Sir Ken Robinson, educationalist, author and speaker, had died on 21 August 2020. One of his core beliefs was that education should encourage creativity rather than stifle it and his career was focussed on unlocking the creative energy of both people and organisations. I remember a few years ago watching his TED talk ‘Do Schools Kill Creativity?’ and finding it both inspirational and funny. Apparently, Sir Ken was the most watched speaker in TED’s history and this talk was viewed online over 60 million times and… Read More

Varsity blues by Trevor Plumbly

On our annual visit to Auckland University’s Visual Science Faculty, five of us ‘blindies’ do a Q&A panel session with students as part of low vision day. I love these days; I can’t see the faces, but the energy in the theatre is contagious. However, the warm fuzzies cool down after a couple of days and I get whimsical. As a lad I never had a serious education; the income from a paper round was deemed more important to the family than a structured mind. So, ill-equipped and a little resentful, I… Read More

Climate change in action by Susan Grimsdell

A survey of how kids get to school found that of the sample number of approximately  800,000 young people, about 580,000 get there by car, 450,000 of those driving themselves, which means they were unlikely to be able to take a passenger.  About 100,000 took a public bus or train and just over 100,000 caught a school bus. Action not words I was interested in these numbers when I thought about the kids’ recent climate change march.  “What do we want?  Climate change action. When do we want it?  NOW!”  I’m all… Read More

School donations in New Zealand by Susan Grimsdell

Schools in New Zealand are rated from 1 to 10, depending on the socio-economic  zone in which they’re located.  Decile 10 applies to wealthy areas and Decile 1 to deprived areas.  The system was introduced in 1995 by the right-wing National Party. Donations required Primary and high school education are free here, but almost all schools ask for a donation from parents to fund facilities and amenities not normally supplied. In Decile 10 areas, parents donate heaps, as you can imagine.  In poor areas, donations are a problem for parents who simply… Read More

I don’t blame me! By Trevor Plumbly

Remember this 1970s pop lyric? Dad’s gone down the dog track, Muvver’s playing bingo, Granny’s boozing in the parlour, You oughta see the gin go. No-one seems to notice me, isn’t it a sin, What a crazy world we’re living in. My circumstances were such that I didn’t suffer from any of that sort of family indifference as a child. Okay, the lyrics are sort of funny, but for a hell of a lot of kids it was a reality. Back then kids were left to their own devices to an extent… Read More