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Minister Calls For Maori Teacher Trainees

The Minister of Maori Affairs is encouraging more Maori people to take up teaching as a career, especially in light of the recent school suspension statistics.

The Hon Parekura Horomia said he is disturbed by the fact that 48% of suspended students are Maori, even though Maori represent only 20% of the school population.

"But this statistic is not new. It is part of the evidence that shows mainstream schools do not cater for many Maori students."

"It is also part of the reason for the initiatives such as kohanga reo, kura kaupapa Maori and wananga. Maori people are developing their own models to turn around the poor educational results for their children."

Mr Horomia said the government is undertaking a range of mechanisms to turn around the situation in mainstream schools including professional development for teachers and increased partnerships with iwi groups.

The Minister is also keen to see more Maori get into teaching as a career.

"Maori students make up 16.8% of students at secondary school but only 6.3% of the teaching workforce. I am aware that many Maori people think that they can't afford the cost or the time to train as teachers. I am hopeful that the TeachNZ scholarships will encourage more to take up the challenge of teaching."

There are over 200 $10,000.00 scholarships available to target Maori trainees into various aspects of secondary teaching including Reo Maori and other general subjects. 55 of the scholarships are available for proficient speakers of Maori.

The deadline for TeachNZ teacher trainee scholarships has been extended to Monday 2 October 2000.

Mr Horomia said education is the cornerstone for all Maori development and is one of the avenues for building capacity.

"Education is the key and it is critical for Maori people to prepare themselves so they can control and lead their own developments, not only in education but also in other social and economic areas."

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