Last week I introduced the new Pasifika Education Plan 2013 – 2017 . One of the challenges that we all face – and certainly are affected by – is ensuring that our education system is meeting the needs of all our children.
While we are certainly blessed with one of the world’s top performing education systems, there are some elements in it that need to improve to ensure that 5 out of 5 students are getting the best possible education.
And right now that is not happening for too many Pasifika students.
Last week, I joined with my colleagues Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, Alfred Ngaro and Simon O’Connor to release the new Plan aimed at lifting achievement at all levels of our system – early childhood, primary, secondary, and on to tertiary.
I’m proud to be part of a Government that is working to ensure that all of our children get a better education.
We are thankful to the community who came out in droves to participate during the consultation period. It is through each of us playing our part and working together that we will raise achievement for our Pasifika children.
That’s parents, families, whanau, aiga + schools + the Government = our kids doing better!
I visited three schools in Auckland to share the excitement of the Plan; Sylvia Park School, Pt England School and Kelston Boys’ High School.
And these schools all embodied the very principles of the Plan – they had strong parent and community participation and support; they had kids engaged and enjoying their learning; they had programmes based around the kids and their communities; they recognised and celebrated the cultural diversity of their students and embraced that in their learning; they had great school leadership and outstanding teaching going on. They were having serious fun!
Together we’ve already achieved some great results.
There are more Pasifika children attending Early Childhood Education before school. More young Pasifika people are achieving NCEA Level 2 and gaining entrance to university.
And there has been a significant increase in the number of Pasifika students gaining at least a Level 4 qualification by the time they turn 25.
But there is much more yet to do. Our Plan aligns with the Prime Minister’s commitment to all New Zealanders, to deliver better public services, within tight financial times.
The Plan has three measures of success. We want for Pasifika children what we want for all Kiwi kids. We want to see 98% of Pasifika children who have started school, participating in Early Childhood Education first, by 2016.
We want to see 85% of Pasifika primary school children at or above in literacy and numeracy, and Pasifika teenagers achieving at least NCEA Level 2 in 2017.
Finally, we want to see those Pasifika students at tertiary level, on par with their classmates.
These are ambitious goals. Ultimately we want to see more Pasifika people achieving higher qualifications, and this starts at the very beginning of their education, by improving participation in Early Childhood Education.
We’re confident that by working together – parents and community + schools + the Government agencies (Ministries of Education and Pacific Island Affairs, the Education Review Office (ERO), Tertiary Education Commission (TEC), New
Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA), Careers New Zealand, and the New Zealand Teachers Council (NZTC) – we can achieve our ambitious goal of 5 out of 5 kids being successful at school.
I wish you all a safe, enjoyable and refreshing, Summer break. And look out for my end-of-year column in your local community newspaper.
Ngā mihi nui.