Much of the information presented I have seen at other Ministry of Education Fono, the statistics taken from the Pasifika Education Plan: Monitoring Report suggest that the education system is failing Pasiﬁka learners. As a Cook Island/Nz Maori mum, aunty, board member, teacher, and community member the words "Pasifika children are failing" rings in my ears like nails scratching along a blackboard.
So what can we do about it? and What are we doing about?
The Pasifika Education Plan released by the Ministry of Education in 2008, has the following suggestions (these are my summarised notes and interpretation of workshop content rather than word for word of what was said):
- View Pasifika learners as central to the system.
- See the world of your school from the eyes of the child.
- Hooking churches around schooling could be a strategy to promote learning for Pasiﬁka learners. 97% of Pasiﬁka children belong to a church (couldn't find source for this statistic).
- Learning that works outside of the classroom.
- Pasiﬁka delays in NCEA can be ﬁxed by encouraging children to attend high quality early childhood centres.
- Pasiﬁka boys are the lowest achievers. What are we doing about it?
Some of the initiatives aimed at Achievement for Pasiﬁka children
- Reading together
- Leadership - Lead the change (PD for teachers, evaluator from University)
- Kelston Primary School - Homework Centres
- Happy Hours - Fun with your kids
Most important initiative is working with teachers and providing quality professional learning i.e.setting high expectations.
Effective teaching + Parent/Whānau relationships = Achievement
Overarching Principles and Goals
In summary, I found the key points useful for my context. The challenge however is to ensure these principles are inherent in everything we are doing. Teachers CAN and DO make a difference. I would love to hear stories of authentic learning experiences and/or strategies that others have used to ensure success for Pasifika students.