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Māori education remains a Government priority, despite the challenging economic climate, Māori Affairs and Associate Education Minister Pita Sharples says.
“Several initiatives in this year’s Budget will help improve education outcomes for Māori,” Dr Sharples says. “The Government’s investment of $76.4 million over the next four years will help our tamariki and mokopuna achieve education success.
“Specific initiatives include an increase of $15.8 million of operating funding as part of the $47.9 million increase to Equity Funding over four years for early childhood education, with an emphasis on te reo and tikanga Māori.”
A further $19.1 million over four years in operating funding has been set aside to improve access to Māori-medium ECE services,” Dr Sharples says.
Programmes that develop best practice in teaching, leadership and the use and analysis of data have been effective in accelerating achievement for Māori learners and other priority learners.
$33 million in operating funding has been set aside for new initiatives that bring together best practice from existing programmes and curriculum-focused professional learning over the next four years.
“$8.5 million has been targeted to develop stronger assessment resources and standards to support learners to achieve NCEA in Māori medium education.
“We want all young people to leave our education system as confident, connected, life-long learners who can contribute to New Zealand’s wellbeing.
“These initiatives will ensure Māori learners achieve education success as Māori, now and in the future.’’
Most of the funding has been front-loaded into the first two financial years, to accelerate an increase in the number of 18-year-olds with NCEA Level 2 or an equivalent qualification by 2016, which is the Government’s goal, Dr Sharples says.
Recent announced changes to student-teacher ratios do not apply to Māori immersion education.