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Pacific people encouraged on to school boards

Media release: Pacific people encouraged to stand for boards of trustees

11 November 2009

Pasifika parents are being encouraged to stand for school boards of trustees through two community fonos being held in Auckland this month.

The fono are part of a joint initiative by the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs called Strengthening Pacific Leadership on Boards of Trustees.

Karen Sewell, Secretary for Education said boards were the bridge between schools and communities, and it was vital the current low level of Pasifika representation on them was lifted.

“All of the work boards do is vital. It has direct consequences for students, teachers, schools and for overall education outcomes,’’ Karen Sewell said.
“We need strong strategic leadership from every board to help lift educational achievement for all young New Zealanders.”
The fono will be held on 26 and 30 November in South and West Auckland. The focus will be on giving parents and families a better understanding of what board members do, by listening to experiences of Pasifika parents and community members already on school boards.

Debbie McLeod, Acting Chief Executive of the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs said there are many people in the Pasifika community with the skills that boards required.

”Education is one of the underlying foundations for achieving successful Pacific communities. The education sector is vital for Pacific workforce and leadership development. Changes for Pacific people require Pacific representation at all levels of decision-making and leadership on boards encourages Pacific communities to hold their local schools accountable for their children’s education,” said Debbie McLeod.

The fono will also outline how schools themselves can encourage Pacific people to stand for board elections in May next year. Schools will be encouraged to hold their own fono and use other channels to highlight the advantages of board membership.

ENDS

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