500 signatures reached
To: Ministry of Education
Retain Media Studies at NCEA Level 1
Retain Media Studies at NCEA Level 1 instead of forcing teachers to simply teach it as an alternative context for other courses.
Why is this important?
Given that the recent coronavirus pandemic has revealed glaring gaps in media literacy and has forced a massive increase in media consumption, the fact that a subject specifically designed to inform young people about this in a more comprehensive and subject-specific way than other "traditional subjects" is being removed is only likely to intensify this. Chris Hipkins himself complained about the misinformation going around so the fact that his Ministry is doing this implies that either he isn't sincere about solving the problem or lacks the foresight required to do so.
To be clear, this is not to demean the subjects that were retained such as History or Geography (many Media Teachers would have taught one or the other at some point in their careers) or to place Media above other subjects that were removed, but rather a criticism of the narrowing of the choices available for our learners in a world where new disciplines are created at a regular basis.
While their own media release claims "Feedback from thousands of stakeholders was factored into the Level 1 subject changes, which will be introduced from 2023" it is clear that this decision ignored the feedback from a sizeable number of Media teachers.
Their suggestion that these subjects are taught as contexts for Social Studies (or English) comes with a number of flaws:
1) if the proposed changes to English and Science are any indication, then it's very likely that it will be difficult to form a Media Studies course without having to force students to severely narrow their choices of Social Sciences. How will they be able to do this if standards have to be reused across courses? All that this will achieve is more competition and conflict between teachers of these subjects.
2) Media Studies itself blends specific content knowledge with theory and concepts ranging from economics, sociology, psychology, literary theory, audience theories and so much more, meaning that to pigeonhole it as just another version of another subject is to heavily dilute it.
3) the numbers that many Media Studies departments have spent years trying to build are likely to drop and the broad and varied nature of NZ education is going to be watered down by this attempt to pick and choose the important foundations that our students need to function in the modern world.
So to sum up: if you think that it's important for our learners to be able to learn early on about the media that surrounds them, then sign this petition.