Monday, May 27, 2019
Newsletter

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After fire destroyed classrooms at Tereora College early in the morning of Monday 8th August, the support of the wider community is allowing school to get back underway with only two days of closure to allow for logistics.

A cordon of the top block of the College will remain in place for health and safety reasons and to allow the Police and Fire Service to complete their work. Learning spaces have been made available in the CISNOC and Sports Arena buildings as well as the community clinic. “We will use marquees as temporary classrooms until some of the cordon comes down” said Principal Tania Morgan. “Our teachers and others from the community are all here today helping us to get organized and we look forward to welcoming our students back to Term 3 on Wednesday”.

Gail Townsend, Secretary of Education continued “the response from other government agencies and the wider community has been fantastic in ensuring students do not loose learning time. Yes, we have lost some buildings but schools are way more than the buildings and the way everyone has come together today demonstrates this”.  “I would particularly like to acknowledge the Police and Fire Service for their response last night and CIIC for their immediate support made available this morning”.

The Prime Minister, who is also the Minister for Education and currently in Manihiki, has been fully informed and is confident in the ability of the school to get underway again.

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With the announcement of the new Secretary of Education, Gail Townsend, I want to take this opportunity to bid a sad but sincere farewell to everyone who has made my time as HoM for education (6 years and 2 months to be exact) such an enjoyable journey.
During my tenure we have restructured the Ministry twice – once to provide more emphasis on the goals of the Education Master Plan and the second time to accommodate the merger of the Department of National Human Resources Development into our Ministry. This has been challenging for staff but their passion and commitment allowed us to achieve this relatively successfully. NCEA results have grown to such an extent that we now have average pass rates for NCEA above those attained on average in New Zealand schools. Teachers’ salaries have been addressed, particularly the introduction of pay parity across the sector as well

The Challenges have been numerous but the rewards have certainly justified the hard work
The Challenges have been numerous but the rewards have certainly justified the hard work

as a 100% increase in management unit allowances. Professional development opportunities for teachers and principals have been strengthened with increased numbers of teachers now having completed Masters and Bachelors’ Degrees. Teacher training in-country was resurrected and incentives provided to entice more Cook Islanders to return from abroad to work for our Ministry. In the language area we have seen the production of more teaching resources in Cook Islands Maori as well the launch of the online Cook Islands Maori Dictionary. Primary school teachers have received considerable support with the teaching of literacy and numeracy and the success of these interventions is now becoming apparent in the national assessment results. Our principals and aspiring principals have been involved in training in New Zealand and we have developed as a centre of excellence, also providing a range of online learning opportunities for students, particularly those in Pa Enua. We also took over responsibility for the Cook Islands National Commission of UNESCO in 2011 and so the list goes on. We are certainly tracking very well against the targets of the Education
Master Plan and therefore I feel confident that I am leaving the Ministry not only in a strong position but also in very safe and capable hands. The challenges have been numerous but the rewards have certainly justified the hard work and I have been privileged to have the opportunity to work with so many professional, committed and dedicated people who so unselfishly give of their time to provide the very best opportunities possible for the students of the Cook Islands. For the past few years we have been acknowledged as the top Ministry and our unqualified audit reports are a testament to the high quality work that so many of you complete. I feel very strongly that I have just been the conductor of the orchestra – it is each and every one of you who have done the hard work and I am extremely grateful to you all for that.
We have achieved the vision set for education when I took on this role and I believe strongly that it is now time for this Ministry to have a fresh approach. I am therefore delighted that Gail Townsend has been appointed as my successor. She brings the energy, drive and passion that is essential to now move education forward to yet another level, although it is very sad for me to let the reins go. Sometimes though, we need to step aside and let others have an opportunity and the time is right for me to do this. Thank you all sincerely for your support, loyalty and friendship over the years. It has been an absolute privilege to work with you all and I wish each and every one of you the very best that life has to offer.
Kia manuia
Sharyn Paio

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CONGRATULATION! Gail Townsend has been named Head of Ministry for the Ministry of Education
CONGRATULATION! Gail Townsend has been named Head of Ministry for the Ministry of Education

Sincere congratulations to two of our senior staff who have been appointed to Head of Ministry positions. Gail
Townsend has been appointed as my replacement and will lead the Ministry of Education, whilst Anthony Turua will take over as the new HoM for the Ministry of Culture.
Gail has been employed by the Ministry of Education since 2003. She initially held the position of Science Advisor and has risen through the ranks more recently holding positions as Director of Policy and Planning and
Executive Director. Gail brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in education and has outstanding qualifications including a Master’s Degree in International Educational Policy and Planning, and a Master’s Degree in Science. Her appointment provides the opportunity for education in the Cook Islands to further
strengthen and develop. I am confident that her passion to ensure the best possible educational opportunities for all Cook Islanders and her professionalism, commitment and energetic approach will provide the leadership this Ministry now needs.
Anthony joined the Ministry of Education in October 2002 as Finance Manager and more recently has held the
position as Director of Finance, responsible for the financial management of our Ministry as well as school buildings and grounds. He holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration and has been an active member on a range of community and non-government organizations. Coupled with these qualifications and experience, Anthony’s love for his language and culture makes him the ideal person to lead the Ministry of Culture
and I know he has a commitment to strengthen the collaboration between the Ministries of Education and Culture for the betterment of the people of the Cook Islands.
I extend my very best wishes to both Gail and Anthony as they take on these new challenges and look forward to seeing both these Ministries grow from strength to strength under their leadership.