Wednesday, 4 September 2013

4 September 2013

The looming death of Learning Media has many lamenting the potential demise of the School Journal – one of the great cradles of New Zealand’s literary talent, and a staple of education for generations.
I certainly remember many hours spent in the school library reading back copies of the Journal, as will many New Zealanders.
Nostalgia is important in shaping our national values and character, but it does not pay the bills. In today’s competitive publishing environment, it was virtually inevitable that Learning Media’s fate would come to this. But that should not mean the consequential death of the School Journal, and nor should it be allowed to happen.
This situation highlights an ongoing challenge modern governments face in ensuring the effective modern provision of established services. The fact that different delivery methods are required should not mean that those services are simply abandoned or cancelled, because times have changed.
While resuscitating Learning Media seems impractical, the opportunity now exists for the government to enter into a new partnership with a commercial publisher for the ongoing publication of the School Journal in either hard copy or electronic form, to ensure its survival.
Yet too often debates about these types of issues degenerate into patch protection issues, from which no-one wins. The bottom line is simple: we want the School Journal to continue (no-one seems to be questioning its value) and we need to find the best way of doing that.
This is a managerial not a political issue, and will be not be resolved by chest-puffing and grandstanding, but by a simple focus on securing the best way forward for the School Journal so it can continue to enrich, delight and inspire generations of school children into the future.

2 comments:

  1. I was sad to hear the news about the School Journal. I'm like you, I enjoyed them in the school library too.

    This valued learning tool does need a new publisher and it would be good to connect to a University Publishing House alongside a creative writing program (Massey has one) to help keep the SJ going.

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  2. Yes, it's a 'managerial' issue. First, the managers at Learning Media appear to be shallow callow business managers with little knowledge of education, children, or publishing. Thus the idiotic cult of the generic manager notches up another casualty.
    The deeper failure of management relates to those who turned Learning Media into a company in the first place. The notion that everything the Govt owns should follow a commercial model is a central failure of imagination. All pegs are square. All holes are square. If it's not square, it's not a peg or a hole and therefore does not exist.
    Eyes wide shut.

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