New Zealand


Secondary schools for the next generation


Background: In 2002, the Ministry of Education along with a newly-elected government launched a broad discussion about secondary schooling for the next twenty years. An important focus was professional views on quality teaching, student outcomes and diversity. A structured approach was elaborated, including participation in OECD’s SfT project.


Objective: Create a space to consider the future, provide tools to promote thinking about the future of education, share trends, and develop ideas about how to make more students more successful; elicit people’s preferences on the future of the education system and support change by taking information further.


Target: Secondary education


Timeframe: Project: to 2009; for thinking: 20 years, from 2002 to 2020s


Who runs it: Ministry of Education funded but a separate unit supported by a secretariat together with ‘touchstone group’ representing various stakeholders. The project has four ‘Guardians’ to protect the independence of the process, prominent citizens representing education, business and sports.


How does it work: The project provides a structure for a nation-wide conversation as well as a toolbox of resources for systemised futures thinking from school level to government policy. The OECD scenarios were a starting point, the project dropped ones it considered counter-productive and developed the rest to match the country’s context. The project is also working with futures projects in other public sectors. The project website is a frequently used interactive tool for collecting and spreading innovation and excellence occurring in schools.

The conversation is being widened by bringing in ‘voices not traditionally heard’ and by providing training to people close to education but from outside teaching/learning to facilitate the dialogue.


Evaluation: An external evaluation by the New Zealand Council for Educational Research noted that the Project has reached several of its goals and suggests further steps to be taken.


Project related websites:


Project related document:

New Zealand Secondary Futures Evaluation 2005


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