The Ministry of Education (Māori: Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga), is the primary state sector organisations in New Zealand responsible for the education system. It was established in 1989 when the former, all-encompassing Department of Education was broken up into six separate agencies.
The Ministry's role is to raise the overall level of educational achievement and reduce disparity. It is not an education provider. That role is met by individual elected Boards of Trustees for every state school in the country. The ministry has numerous functions - advising government, providing information to the sector, providing learning resources, administering sector regulation and funding, and providing specialist services. The ministry works with other education agencies including the Education Review Office, the New Zealand Qualifications Authority and Learning Media Limited.
Although the Ministry's role is raise the level of educational achievement, it is also the mechanism through which the Government of the day implements its education policy. When government changes aspects of its policy on education, the Ministry is responsible for implementing those changes. Sometimes the Ministry ends up in the difficult position of trying to implement political induced changes in education policy to which teachers, parents and boards of trustees may be totally opposed. Changes introduced by the National Government in 2011-2012 are an example.
In order for the Ministry to perform its role effectively, it is dependent on taxpayer funding provided by Government. When government increases funding or requires financial cutbacks, this also impacts on the ability of the Ministry to fulfill its role. In 2013, Government provided about $12.2 billion to fund education in New Zealand.
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