Iwi involved in ‘grassroots’ education are demanding greater provision of Maori medium education across the country. The call was made at a national conference of ‘Iwi Education Partners’ held in Auckland earlier this week (Tuesday 20 November 2012).
Awanui Black – a spokesman for the conference convenors, Nga Kaikokiri Matauranga – says results for the 2011 year state a clear case: Maori students do better in total immersion Maori medium schools than in English medium.
Mr Black says iwi will no longer sit quietly while another generation of rangatahi are failed by an “essentially mono-cultural” education system.
“Kura kaupapa Maori and kura a iwi significantly out-perform English medium schools. Consistently, for decades, one in three Maori students have left school with no qualification. For our Maori boys, the level of system failure increases to a staggering one in two.
“Iwi education initiatives are the untold success story. Maori medium is already doing what the rest of the education sector is failing to do – delivering good educational outcomes for Maori students. Kohanga, kura and wharekura outperform English medium schools – the statistics prove this.”
Nga Kaikokiri Matauranga was appointed by 57 ‘Iwi Education Partners’ to voice the concerns of iwi over the failure of the education system to deliver high quality education to Maori students.
Nga Kaikokiri Matauranga was subsequently adopted by the Iwi Chairs Forum to progress the matauranga (education) workstream. Nga Kaikokiri Matauranga members are Awanui Black (Tauranga), Terry Smith (Whangaroa) and Roana Bennett (Rotorua).
According to Mr Black, Ministry of Education research shows that if you speak Maori, you are more likely to have a tertiary qualification and higher pay level than if you do not.
“If raising educational outcomes for Maori students is a government priority, then here is a ready-made solution. The recent Waitangi Tribunal Report on the kohanga reo claim clearly states that the Government has not properly supported kohanga reo – this is also true for total immersion kura and wharekura.
“These initiatives need to be properly supported as they produce the results we all want. Iwi is the core imperative that drives us – reo speaking, tikanga bound, marae connected, whakapapa proud – this is our cultural capital. This will advance our tamariki and rangatahi; this will engage and empower our whanau.”
For further information, please contact Awanui Black on mobile +64 21 225 5503; Terry Smith on mobile +64 21 401 831; or Roana Bennett on mobile +64 27 353 5360.