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Summit a Key Forum to discuss Maori Achievement

Education Summit a Key Forum to discuss Maori Achievement

Dr Pita Sharples; Co-leader of the Maori Party

25 September 2006

Results from the Ministry of Education update of Maori achievement and achievement at Maori immersion and bilingual schools (October 2005) will be a key feature of discussion at the Hui Taumata Matauranga to be held in Taupo during 6-8 October, says Dr Pita Sharples, Co-leader of the Maori Party.

"The Sunday paper's headlines created shock-waves around our whanau" said Dr Pita Sharples. "From one headline, it stated that Maori immersion students struggle in mainstream".

Yet the Ministry's own data showed that in both 2003 and 2004, candidates at immersion and bilingual schools were more likely to gain a National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) than Maori candidates in English medium schools.

Year 11 candidates at bilingual schools were also more likely to meet the literacy and numeracy requirements of NCEA level 1. They were more likely to meet these requirements than both Maori and non-Maori in English medium schools [reference: Achievement at Maori immersion and bilingual schools, update for 2004 results, Siobhan Murray; Demographic and Statistical Analysis Unit; October 2005]

"The remarkable thing about this achievement is that despite a series of joint education summits between Maori and Government over the past five years; support for the primary Maori aspiration for education has been grossly ignored" said Dr Sharples. "To know that we have such impressive results in literacy and numeracy is astounding, given the low level of state investment".

The original Hui Taumata Mätauranga, held in February and in November 2001, drew attention to the aspirations of Mäori for a more effective education system.

"The entire hui including all Ministers of Education, Ministry of Education senior officials, and Maori leaders within education, unanimously accepted Maori aspirations for the future to be of primary importance to the development of programmes for Maori in education" stated Dr Sharples.

"I remember those early discussions, vividly. The hui called for urgent action in addressing the educational policies of the state" said Dr Sharples. The summit agreed that if the system were to be responsive to Maori, Mäori education policies should aim to equip Mäori children and rangatahi to be citizens of the world, to live as Mäori, and to enjoy a high standard of living".

"This should have been a strong signal to the Government, to develop Maori language curriculum resources and professional development to truly attain the aspirations of Maori".

"The fact that the Ministry's data reports that around half of the Year 11 candidates at immersion and bilingual schools who gained an NCEA gained no science credits is a shocking indictment on the Minister and Ministry of Education's poor performance in supporting a comprehensive Maori curriculum".

"Our tamariki at kura are entitled to receive a full education which responds to Maori aspirations in a positive learning environment" said Dr Sharples. "The under-achievement in science has long been identified as a concern for bilingual and immersion schools".

"There must an all-concerted effort to recruit and retain excellent subject specialists in putaiao; to develop tailored resources in order to ensure Maori can indeed be world citizens, live as Mäori, and enjoy high living standards".

"The focus for Hui Taumata Matauranga in 2006 is the pivotal role that whanau play in supporting tamariki through education. I hope that the Hui will examine this achievement research critically, ask searching questions about why the numbers of kura kaupapa Maori seems to have been stuck at 57; and make recommendations about the urgent need for investment to ensure Maori children are not further compromised by inadequate support for science education" said Dr Sharples.

ENDS

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