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Maori and Pacific Island students do better

Statistics show Maori and Pacific Island students do better at independents schools

Maori and Pacific Island students do better in independent schools according to statistics released last week by the Ministry of Education, says Joy Quigley Executive Director of Independent Schools of New Zealand (ISNZ).

School leaver data for 2001 and 2002 show that Maori and Pacific Island students stay longer in independent schools and leave with better qualifications.

Seventy seven percent of Maori students enrolled in independent schools left at the end of Year 13 in 2002, compared with fifty four percent in integrated schools and thirty seven percent in state schools. Similarly eighty six percent of Pacific Island students enrolled in independent schools left at the end of Year 13 in 2002 compared with fifty nine and fifty five percent enrolled respectively in state integrated and state schools.

Joy Quigley says the strong culture of learning, and knowing it is 'cool' to ask questions and to succeed academically, are the main reasons why these students have greater success in independent schools. Last week ISNZ released a funding report which showed that increasing the state subsidy to independent schools would save the state money and improve the overall quality of education in New Zealand.

These statistics for Maori and Pacific Island students provide the Government with an excellent example of how increased participation at independent schools can contribute to raising Maori and Pacific Island students' educational achievement.

Joy Quigley said these statistics build on recent US research which showed the educational benefits of independent school education for low income students. Research published in 2002 by the US Department of Education's statistics arm showed that US students in the lowest quartile of poverty who attend private schools were nearly four times more likely to get a higher education degree than comparable students who attended public schools.

"There is a growing body of evidence that shows that attendance at independent schools can benefit a wide range of students irrespective of their socio economic or ethnic background," Joy Quigley said.

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