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Boost For Pacific Education

4 May 2002

Budget 2002

Prime Minister Helen Clark, Pacific Island Affairs Minister Mark Gosche and Associate Minister of Education (Tertiary) Steve Maharey today announced new education funding for Pacific peoples in Budget 2002.

Helen Clark said the budget continues New Zealand’s transformation to a more innovative, knowledge-based economy. Building the nation’s skills and talents was a key goal of economic policy and that was reflected in today’s announcement.

The funding for Pacific peoples includes:

- $1.2 million over four years to increase the New Zealand Qualifications Authority’s (NZQA) work with Pacific peoples

- $126,000 over two years for the professional development of Samoan teachers

- An extra $412,000 over four years for Anau Ako Pasifika, providing home-based early childhood education and parental development for Pacific families with young children

Mark Gosche said the extra funding would have long term benefits for Pacific children and their communities.

“Increasing Pacific participation at all stages of the education system is the key to increasing future prosperity for Pacific peoples. This new funding will help achieve that goal.”

The $1.2 million for NZQA work with Pacific peoples will help increase the number of providers offering good quality, culturally appropriate educational options for Pacific learners.

Steve Maharey said there had been a sharp increase in the number of Pacific peoples taking up education and training opportunities through the National Qualifications Framework.

“Framework registrations from Pacific people have increased by 50 per cent so far this year, compared to the same time last year.

“By March there were 52,267 Pacific people registered framework learners, compared to only 34,493 in January 2000. It’s important that this demand for skills and education is met with high quality options.”

The NZQA money will be used for:

- development and support for providers working with Pacific learners, including education publications targeted at Pacific peoples,

- developing unit standards, national qualifications and assessment models that meet the needs of Pacific communities,

- consultation with Pacific communities to establish priorities for qualifications development

- training Pacific people to develop unit standard resources, and

- increasing NZQA responsiveness to Pacific peoples.

The extra $412,000 in operating funding for Anau Ako Pasifika will take total spending on this programme to over $2.5 million over five years, said Mark Gosche.

“This programme supports families and communities providing home-based early childhood education, including developing culturally appropriate resources. It helps ensure that Pacific families who would otherwise likely miss out get access to early childhood education.”

Nearly 400 Pacific families in Auckland, South Waikato and Wellington currently benefit from the programme.

“Early childhood education was a priority for this government. The new initiatives come on top of the $2.7 million already allocated through the discretionary grants scheme this year to create more than 350 new places for Pacific children nation-wide in new licensed and chartered centres. Furthermore, a recent announcement of an increase to this scheme will see an additional $1.2 million to create even more Pacific early childhood education places.”

The $126,000 for the professional development of Samoan language teachers will focus on years 9 -13 teachers, Mr Gosche said.

“Most Samoan language teachers are Samoan speakers who have not been trained in the teaching of languages. This new funding will help improve their skills and build a network of support and expertise among Samoan language teachers.”

This funding would complement the Ministry of Education’s Samoan materials development project and Samoan language on-line project, both due to be completed soon.

“The government acknowledges the importance of Pacific languages and their place in New Zealand schools. Samoan is already one of the languages available for the NCEA and this latest initiative further strengthens Samoan language teaching, Mr Gosche said.

Ends


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