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Closing the education gap

Labour
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Closing the gaps between Maaori and non-Maaori achievement at school is a key aspect of Labour's education policy for schools, released today.

Labour's Maaori education spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta said the policy contained specific initiatives for Maaori education, but extra support was also targeted towards all the poorest schools which Maaori attended in disproportionate numbers.

"More than half the students in the poorest 10 per cent of schools are Maaori. There is significant evidence showing that the educational achievement levels in those schools is lower than in schools serving more wealthy communities," Nanaia Mahuta said.

"Lifting the standard of education those schools, including kura kaupapa Maaori, are able to provide will bring huge benefits for Maaori education.

"Labour's policy in this area starts off with the basic - more funding. The $106 million that the current Government set aside to induce schools into bulk funding will be distributed on a fair formula to all schools, including greater targeting towards schools serving the poorest communities.

"Labour will also support special projects like homework centres and the tu tangata scheme.

"There is a range of initiatives to help 'hard to staff schools' recruit and retain qualified staff. I know this is a particular problem in areas like Te Tai Tokerau and Te Tairawhiti. Those areas will benefit from plans for secondment schemes to attract teachers; adequate teacher housing provision; and scholarships to colleges of education for high quality students willing to be bonded to teach in those areas."

Nanaia Mahuta said other initiatives specific to Maaori education included hosting a Hui Taumata - "Matauranga 2000" - to bring together Maaori educators and community leaders to develop and plan for long term progress in Maaori education; and increased funding and co-ordination for the development of Maaori language resources - including using information technology more effectively.


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