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Target all Maaori children - Mahuta

Labour
2000 web siteAny solution to Maaori education must be targeted at improving the achievement of Maaori in education whether it is in mainstream or through the medium of Maaori language learning, Labour Maaori education spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta said today.

Nanaia Mahuta was commenting on the official release of the Maaori Education Commission's recommendations which recommend strengthening kura kaupapa Maori.

"Kura Kaupapa Maaori are wonderful - but any policies to improve Maaori educational outcome must also focus on the 90% of Maaori children who attend mainstream schools," Nanaia Mahuta said.

"The MEC report rightfully identifies KKM as a leading light and way forward for Maaori in education. But the needs and rights of the large majority of Maaori children in other schools cannot be ignored.

"Nor can the socio economic factors which are so closely related to educational achievement be disregarded. Children cannot learn properly if they are living in cold, overcrowded houses and going to school hungry. Yet sadly, that is the reality for a lot of our Maaori children.

"Labour's education policy will provide more support for kura kaupapa Maaori, but it will also be heavily targeted towards all schools serving the poorest communities in New Zealand. There will also be investment in teachers and teacher education with a particular goal to get more Maaori teachers into all New Zealand schools. That will go side by side with a comprehensive set of social policies aimed at reducing poverty."

Nanaia Mahuta said that overall, the MEC report, was a sad reflection of what has happened to the education system under a Government which despite the rhetoric does not value the importance of education or invest in the areas of most need that will improve Maaori education.

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