As ACT’s Education Spokesman, I welcome the launch of the ‘Maori Into Tertiary Education’ project which aims to unlock the potential of Maori youths in Auckland and get them into tertiary education.
More than 200 tertiary education providers met in Auckland on Thursday to discuss ways of getting Māori into tertiary education – their goal is to triple the current participation rate. Another goal was for at least 20 percent of Auckland’s Maori population to have some form of tertiary qualification, at least at degree-level, by 2020. At the moment it is about 8 per cent
As those involved in the project have pointed out, it’s an outrage that nearly half of the 2,840 young Aucklanders who left secondary school last year without any qualifications were Maori. I think it’s encouraging to see the tertiary sector take responsibility and action to improve Maori outcomes. ACT has been long said that a good education is the key to empowering people and making them productive members of society.
The sad reality is it’s not just Auckland that has a problem with failing youth. Secondary education is failing many children around the country - and it’s this failure of our secondary school system which is at the root cause of many of New Zealand’s problems, for example we have some of the worst statistics for youth unemployment and teen pregnancy in the OECD.
While it’s fantastic that the tertiary education sector is willing to play its part, unfortunately not much will change until the Government has the guts to introduce real choice in education.
We simply cannot afford to have so many of our youth fall through the cracks as they are now. ACT’s education policy – to be released shortly - outlines fundamental changes we must make to the education system to ensure students’ learning needs are put first, while altering the incentives to keep our best teachers in the sector and more importantly, in the classroom. It is time we gave every child the education they deserve. ACT’s policy outlines the way we can lift our game.