New Zealand activist and educator Miriam Pierard became a familiar name on the country’s political radar when she took a break from teaching in 2014 to run in that year’s general election. Fast-forward to another election year, and the committed advocate for equality of access to quality education for all is close to completing a Master’s in Education and Globalisation at Finland’s University of Oulu, exploring subjects such as Nordic education in the European and global context, and how that relates to education policy.
Sarah caught up with Miriam to discuss her thoughts on what, as a teacher, she thinks works and what doesn’t in the classroom, and why New Zealand has so much to learn from the way Finland approaches, and values, education.
Continue reading Q&A | Miriam Pierard: Policymakers need to start listening to teachers
Popular, charismatic political saviours can be a contagion in their nation’s body politic. I’m not saying that Emmanuel Macron or Justin Trudeau are the patient zeroes of deadly pandemics, but that their impact has awakened a dormant problem that, while it won’t kill us, can severely impede our cognitive abilities. Case in point: Jacindamania – the media frenzy around the rise of new Labour leader Jacinda Ardern during New Zealand’s general election, that has pundits and political geeks feverishly hallucinating a two-horse race. Which in turn, for the public, enforces a delusion that the country still votes under a First Past the Post system. Without strong third parties, Labour and National – both still lacking truly bold reforms in housing, the environment, employment or productivity – as an 80% plus two-party billing could seal a cosy consensus for years to come.