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SMARTBUS takes early childhood education to Pacific families

Hon Hekia Parata
Minister of Pacific Island Affairs

5 September 2013

SMARTBUS takes early childhood education to Pacific families

Pacific Island Affairs Minister Hekia Parata says that in a short space of time the new Pacific Early Learning Mobile Outreach Service (PELMOS) SMARTBUS has given more Pacific parents a taste of early childhood education (ECE).

Ms Parata officially launched the SMARTBUS in South Auckland today.

“Currently 86.8 per cent of Pacific children attend an ECE service but we want to raise this to the government goal of 98 per cent in 2016. With 49 ECE enrolments already, the SMARTBUS is contributing to this goal and this is something we celebrate today,” Ms Parata says.

The SMARTBUS concept was developed by the Ministries of Pacific Island Affairs and Education as an innovative approach to increasing Pacific ECE participation rates in the Auckland area. It’s essentially a van filled with ECE information and early learning resources, staffed by fully-trained personnel who can share information with Pacific families about the importance of ECE.

“The SMARTBUS gives us a different way of engaging with the community. We now can go to where the people are from festivals and sporting events to malls and markets,” says Ms Parata says.

“It’s doing a great job, particularly in South Auckland, not only spreading the word about the benefits of ECE but letting parents and their little ones experience it for themselves. Over the past three years, Pacific ECE participation rates in Auckland have increased from 83.1 per cent in 2010 to 86.4 per cent in 2013.That’s around 680 more Pasifika children participating in Auckland.

“An important aspect of this innovative project is the collaboration between the Ministries of Pacific Island Affairs and Education. They have shared knowledge, experience and community contacts to make this initiative successful and benefit the community.

“I am happy to be in South Auckland today to officially launch the Pacific Early Learning Mobile Outreach Service SMARTBUS and look forward to hearing about the new enrolments for Pacific children that it fosters,” says Ms Parata.

ENDS

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