The Ministry of Education, along with the Ministry’s National Pasifika Advisory Group (PAG), invited the Minister of Education and Pacific Island Affairs, Hon Hekia Parata, to speak at its fono (meeting) in Wellington last month.
The theme of the Minister’s speech was ‘Let’s tap into Pasifika potential now and all Pasifika learners will achieve’.
The Minister encouraged improvement to happen quickly; that we do not have time to waste, and we do not have another generation to waste.
She urged everyone to work collaboratively with her to step it up for all our Pasifika learners.
“The single and most important action a parent can make to ensure the educational success of their child is to make sure they have a good breakfast and are at school every day,” said the Minister.
Pasifika Education Plan 2013-2017
The Pasifika Education Plan 2013-2017, to be signed off by Cabinet in July 2012, was the focal point of the meeting attended by Pasifika community leaders and sector representatives from early childhood, compulsory, and tertiary education.
Lifting achievement, creating greater engagement and increased attendance, and involving young Pasifika people in the education system will have a resounding impact on the future of New Zealand.
The Pasifika Education Plan 2013-2017 will:
- Set more ambitious targets, informed by in-depth investigation, discussion, and comparative analysis about Pasifika and non-Pasifika achievement;
- Increase participation in quality ECE to 98 per cent of new entrants having participated in quality ECE by 2016, including working with parents and families to grow their understanding, commitment and responsiveness to ensuring children are present regularly, and working with key agencies to promote children’s health and wellbeing;
- Include further practical, on the ground actions to drive continued improvement in literacy and numeracy achievement across all levels of education, and attainment of qualifications such as by 2016, 85 per cent of learners will achieve NCEA Level 2 or an equivalent qualification, increased to 98 per cent by 2021;
- Focus on improving attendance as a foundation for engagement in learning, with learners being able to map out for themselves future subject choices from Year 8, leading to further achievement;
- Emphasise the importance of Pasifika identities, languages and cultures and more active engagement with Pasifika parents and families;
- Make sure that the full implementation of Youth Guarantee works for Pasifika learners creating pathways for success;
- Have more Pasifika learners achieving at NQF Level 4 and above that focus on skills essential to the future New Zealand workforce.
The development of the Pasifika Education Plan 2013-2017 is a joint project between the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs, supported by all the education agencies; the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC), the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA), the Education Review Office (ERO), Careers New Zealand (CNZ), and the New Zealand Teachers’ Council (NZTC).
The consultation process for the development of the Plan will continue until May 2012. Individuals and groups are encouraged to think about:
- How we can exponentially raise participation, engagement and achievement for all Pasifika learners,
- What has been working well and should be continued,
- What else should be considered in the new Pasifika Education Plan.
Pasifika Advisory Group (PAG)
PAG is a partnership between Pasifika communities and the Ministry of Education. Its purpose is to provide critique and advice to the Ministry on ways of improving the education system’s effectiveness for raising education outcomes for Pasifika learners. Membership is made up of community members and sector leaders and or representatives in early childhood education, compulsory education and tertiary education.
Pasifika Education Research Priorities
The Ministry of Education has recently released Pasifika Education Priorities, available on the Ministry’s Education Counts website.
The research priorities are intended to result in findings about what works well for Pasifika learners and teachers will be able to use this evidence to inform their practice. The research priorities will also help researchers, including post graduate students and teacher researchers, to select a Pasifika education topic to investigate.
Funding is through existing sources, although the Ministry will commission specific pieces of work from time to time to support these priorities.
While the Ministry has some evidence about how to improve the education system to ensure that it caters well for all Pasifika learners, there is a need for a coordinated approach to gathering quality research knowledge. This is essential to better inform policy, decision-making and practice for improved Pasifika learner outcomes. By working together, researchers, funders, and other users of research can carry out and use research to improve outcomes for Pasifika learners.
As a starting point, questions have been developed for research in five areas: Families and Communities; Effective Teaching and Learning; Governance and Leadership; Literacy and Numeracy; and Transitions. These areas and research questions will be continuously revised and are likely to be updated with the development of the new Pasifika Education Plan currently being developed and to be signed off by Cabinet before the end of July, 2012.