Teaching qualifications

New Zealand Initiative appoints new Principal Investigator

Wellington (Tuesday, March 1, 2022)
The New Zealand Initiative is delighted to announce the appointment of a new Principal Investigator, Dr Michael Johnston. Dr Johnston joins the think tank at Victoria University of Wellington where he was Associate Dean (Academic) in the School of Education.

After nearly 20 years in academia, interrupted by a six-year stint at the NZQA, Johnston says he looks forward to the new challenge of leading the New Zealand Initiative’s education programme.

“My goal in this position is to improve education policy and thereby improve educational outcomes for all young New Zealanders.”

Dr. Johnston says his academic research has focused on the link between educational assessment and the curriculum. It gave him a good idea of ​​what needs to change in the New Zealand curriculum.

“One of the flaws of the NCEA system is that the way its internal assessment is conducted often encourages shallow rather than deep learning. It is imperative that our qualifications framework and curriculum work together to provide a knowledge-rich education for all Kiwi students. This will continue to be an area of ​​interest for me at The New Zealand Initiative. Better approaches to teaching early literacy will be another focus.”

Dr Oliver Hartwich, executive director of The New Zealand Initiative, said Dr Johnston’s appointment shows the think tank’s commitment to a world-class education system.

“New Zealand needs a well-functioning education system that equips the next generation with the skills and competencies they need to thrive. For too long, New Zealand’s international education rankings have been falling.

“We are thrilled to have Michael join our team and look forward to working with him to produce practical policies that reverse our country’s education decline.”

During the first term of this year, Dr. Johnston’s time will be shared between The New Zealand Initiative and Victoria University of Wellington until the completion of his teaching responsibilities.

About Dr. Michael Johnston
Dr. Michael Johnston has held academic appointments at Victoria University of Wellington for the past ten years. This includes being the Associate Dean (Academic) of the University’s School of Education for the past 3 years.

Prior to his stay in Victoria, Dr Johnston was a Senior Statistician with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority, a position he held for 6 years. Prior to that, he held positions at the universities of Melbourne and Latrobe.

Dr Johnston holds a PhD in cognitive psychology from the University of Melbourne.

He lives in Roseneath, Wellington, with his wife and two young children.

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