What's missing in NZ schools? Students chime in

Education Minister Chris Hipkins is planning a review and potential overhaul of New Zealand's education system - but what would today's students like to see?

An assortment of pupils were invited to appear on Three's The Project on Wednesday night to weigh in on the matter.

"I want the education ministers to put themselves in our shoes," says Tayla-Lee, a Year 13.

"Having all these exams crammed in the last three weeks of school, it's so stressful. Surely in the 21st century there's a more creative way we can be tested."

Felix, a fellow Year 13, agrees that end-of-year exams might not be the best way to test knowledge.

"Exams are a very specific and narrow way of examining things. It almost feels like we're being prepared for something which doesn't exist."

Matt, a Year 12, says students need to engage with a subject in order to do well.

"There's no point studying about something when it's not relatable. We have basically zero interest in it, you're trying to make us learn about it and then try to put all our efforts into it."

Tuitofa, who's in Year 13, wants the curriculum to recognise that people learn best in different ways.

"We are not all the same, and I'd really appreciate it if we had different ways of learning."

Selu-Kian, another Year 13, says she feels as though getting credits is prioritised over enjoying the learning process. 

"With me and NCEA, I felt like our curriculum was already set in stone. You're going to learn this, this and this, and you're going to learn it because you need the credits." 

She'd like to see more New Zealand and Pacific history being studied in high schools. 

"I can tell you a lot about the Russian revolution and Nazi Germany, but can I really tell you about the ethnic cleansing of my moana? That's a huge problem for me, I don't even know the history of my own people."

Year 13 Te Kaha Jonathan would like to see a focus on Te Reo.

"I'd like to see the future of Māori language to be continued for our children. It's dying at the moment and I don't want it to die, it's something that we Māori cherish and we hold close to our hearts."

Tayla-Lee wants to learn more practical skills for the wider world.

"When you leave school it's so vital to know simple things like writing a CV, learning how to pay taxes. Just the things you need to do as an adult, I feel like that's really missing from the curriculum." 

One thing all the students seem to agree on is that teachers need to be paid more.

"I've got a lot of teachers in my family, and a lot of their personal money goes to resources," says Tayla-Lee.

Phoenix, a Year 9, would like to see educators receive more respect for what they do.

"They have so much work to do, it's unreal."

Watch the full segment on The Project.