Holistic approach to education is the pathway to progress

Veteran academic proposes CHIN UP concept of an inclusive programme

Venkat Raman
Auckland, January 23, 2024

New Zealand should be rescued from the path of educational decline and our young people should be guided to become achievers in all aspects of career and life, a veteran academic and policy developer has said.

Manish Tanna, who is a teacher with more than 35 years of experience in several schools in India and New Zealand, has developed the concept of CHIN UP (Community of High Needs Unleashing Potential), which takes a holistic approach to education.

Mr Tanna was at the offices of Indian Newslink on January 19, 2024 to discuss the concept and the ways and means of improving the standards of education.

“The overall development of children as they enter school and the support that families (parents, grandparents and relatives) and communities provide along with teachers are critical and central to the progress of our society. The CHIN UP concept addresses various issues and prepares children to receive education in the right environment. Built into this Programme is the commitment of all stakeholders at the Partnership Schools,” he said.

About Partnership Schools

He said that the Partnership School Programme, which was launched by the National Party (under a Confidence and Supply Agreement with the ACT Party) following the general election in 2011 but later abandoned by the Labour government will now be revived.

Partnership Schools focus on improving educational outcomes for those groups of students whom the system has not served well. This includes Māori, Pasifika, students with special education needs and students from low socio-economic backgrounds. The most significant difference between Partnership Schools and State Schools is that they have greater freedom and flexibility to innovate and engage with their students in return for stronger accountability for improving educational outcomes.

Partnership Schools was a new approach to ensure that all young New Zealanders succeed.

Many other countries have policies to bring new providers into their education network to raise student achievement. These include Charter schools in the United States of America and academies and free schools in the United Kingdom.

There is an emerging body of longitudinal research from overseas that shows that well-run, well-led Charter Schools can successfully lift achievement for learners from minority groups and low socio-economic backgrounds.

Source: NZ Partnership Schools Website

Involvement of Families, Communities

Mr Tanna’s CHIN UP Programme will encourage Partnership Schools to involve families and community leaders and address the current challenges in the education system.

“While the performance of our students in competitive examinations in recent years has been pathetic, declining attendance levels have also been a problem. While the Covid-19 pandemic was partially responsible for this decline, I believe that government handouts have increased dependency to a high degree, leading to disastrous results,” he said.

He was referring to the ‘Benefits Regime,’ which discouraged able people from seeking employment but instead made them dependent on weekly or fortnightly payments from the government. Experts and critics of the system have said for many years that handouts to people who are capable of employment could have a direct link to increasing crime.

Mr Tanna however was not averse to the needy being supported by the system.

“I recognise that there are sections of society that are underprivileged and these people should be supported. But I have realised that nobody can give you a handout that will make you strong. You have to really pull up yourself and CHIN UP,” he said.

According to Mr Tanna, people (except the aged and those with disabilities) receiving free passes for transport, food, and petrol, lose the strength to fight back.

“That is where our communities have been suffering. The moment you take away that portion of support, they have no clue how to earn their bread,” he said.

He has studied a series of causes and believes that CHIN UP could be a solution.

“A child is raised not only by the family but also by others. Children from broken families, those with criminal backgrounds, those struggling to make ends meet and other dysfunctional factors should be rescued early because it will be too late by the time they join school. Children need care, love and attention,” he said.

Mr Tanna said that Partnership Schools will gain support if we provide a model that improves the physical, mental, spiritual and financial health of families and children.

“Fortunately, mental health is now receiving the right attention of the government. I believe that along with parents, we should also involve grandparents and elderly members of our communities in Partnership Schools.

In this Video/Podcast, Mr Tanna outlines his CHIN UP concept, saying that education should commence at the family level and extend to the community at large.

“By making parents, grandparents, members of the community- everyone in society responsible for bringing up the new generation, we can make a marked difference and bring up our children with the desired qualities and qualifications to become great citizens of our country and to become world leaders. CHIN UP makes all New Zealanders stakeholders in the development of our young people from the time of their birth. When children enter school, they should be in the correct frame of mind to receive education and grow,” he said.

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