Pacific Island Affairs Minister Luamanuvao Winnie Laban has welcomed the release of school leaver data by Education Minister Chris Carter which shows that more than half of Pasifika students are achieving level 2 NCEA or above before they leave school.
The 2007 School Leaver Statistics show that 56 per cent of Pasifika students leaving secondary school in 2007 achieved level 2 NCEA or above, a 6 per cent increase from 2006.
"In 2003, the year that level 2 NCEA was introduced, less than 30 per cent of Pasifika students gained level 2 or above, so the strides that have been made in four years are huge.
"Positive change is also happening at the other end of the achievement spectrum. In 2003, 21 per cent of Pasifika students left school with little or no formal attainment . Last year that figure was down to 6 per cent."
Other recent positives to come out of the education sector include:
• Pasifika students suspensions dropped 17 per cent in 2007
• Pasifika students made the biggest gains in literacy in primary schools
• Pasifika students led an overall increase in the rate of Year 11 students achieving level 1 NCEA
Laban said the news was a timely reminder of the gains Pasifika students are making in New Zealand schools, with the government due to launch their stepped up Pasifika Education Plan for 2008-2012 next month.
"Pasifika students' rate of achievement is still lagging behind the overall student average, but with a more concentrated and collaborative approach, the focus for the future will be on increasing Pasifika achievement at all levels of the education system."
“We need to ensure these gains continue in the years to come. To maintain momentum it is vital that our Pasifika students are at school, interested and actively participating in learning. It is also critical to strengthen the effectiveness of teaching for Pasifika students and encourage increased involvement in schools by our Pasifika communities."