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Education system rates D- for failing Maori & PI

Education system rates a D- for failing Maori, PI students

Green MP Metiria Turei said today the Ministry of Education must "try harder" to address a disturbing lack of achievement of Maori and Pacific Island students.

School leaving statistics released by the Ministry show the number of Maori students leaving school without formal qualifications have risen for the past two years. In 2002, 35 per cent of Maori school students left with no qualifications, up from 33.4 per cent in 2001.

Pacific Island students fared no better as the 2001 figure of 24.8 per cent who left without qualification increased to 26 per cent in 2002.

"The Government must act urgently to address the poor achievement by Maori and Pacific Island students in mainstream education," said Metiria, the Green Education spokesperson.

"The Ministry should be very concerned that the proportion of Maori and Pacific Island students leaving school with no qualifications has trended upwards since 1999, when Labour came to power.

"The mainstream education system is obviously failing Maori and Pacific Island students. If the system isn't working - and the trends don't dispute this - then alternatives and culturally-based education must be considered."

Metiria urged the Ministry to support kura and language immersion schools by ensuring they are adequately resourced.

"A commitment needs to be made to kura if we are to have high expectations that they will enhance the achievements of Maori," said Metiria.

"At present, culturally-based education is mired in a wider non-supportive environment because there are very few learning resources available in Maori. For culturally-based education to work effectively, we must increase the library and study resources available in Maori," said Metiria.

"There is not enough research being done at present to gauge the qualitative outcomes of Maori in both immersion and second chance education.

"Vocational-based courses are very attractive for Maori school-leavers because of the growth in the private education sector, but in-depth research is crucial to ensure Maori receive positive outcomes from these courses," said Metiria.

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