Education Law in Aotearoa New Zealand

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
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Handbook of Comparative Education Law: British Commonwealth Nations, 2018, 1, 1 pp. 45 - 72
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Historically there is no discreet discipline known as ‘Education Law’ in New Zealand. The term more correctly refers to the wide body of policy, statutes, common law and international instruments which comprise the right to education and rights in education. The last decades have seen a greater recognition of the myriad of ways in which the law impacts on education, and an attendant and increasing need for scholarship and discourse between lawyers, law and education practitioners and scholars. This chapter explores the law as it applies to the exercise of the right to, and the rights in education by New Zealand children and young people. It begins by tracing the history and development of the ‘free, compulsory and secular’ system of compulsory education. It will next consider the exercise by young people of particular rights within education which apply equally to educators, for example, the right not to be discriminated against. Then it touches on legislation and policy which relates particularly to the employment of those educators. It will conclude by discussing some emerging issues faced by schools and educators, and discuss the challenges and opportunities presented by modern developments to the education system as a whole and impact on every child attending school in New Zealand. Education is clearly the key to the realisation of life’s expectations and to the future of the nation, and exercise of the right to education is fundamental to the welfare of society. While often, the implementation of successive government policies may lead one to question the ideal, it is axiomatic that education is a public good. In New Zealand, it has been said that the rationale for this, since the beginnings of the education system, is contained in four key points: ‘… social control, the need for an educated electorate, investment in economic productivity, and equal individual rights
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