29 Nov 2009

Govt push for more Pacific children in early education

1:25 pm on 29 November 2009

A revised education plan for Pacific Island students includes getting more under five-year-olds into early education and boosting secondary school qualification rates.

The Government says it is committed to lifting education for all New Zealanders and that literacy and numeracy must be improved.

Pacific Island Affairs Minister Georgina te Heuheu says under the three-year plan, the Government wants to see an extra 2000 Pacific children in pre-schools by 2012.

Mrs te Heuheu says the plan includes training more Pacific Island early childhood education teachers.

She says the Government also wants a 20% reduction in Pacific Island student suspensions by 2012 and a greater number of parents on school boards of trustees.

Mrs te Heuheu says the Government cannot lift education results on its own and parents must get involved in their children's education.

The Labour Party says the revised education plan for Pacific students jeopardises progress made over the past 10 years.

Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Luamanuvao Winnie Laban says a plan is being imposed on the Pacific community which ignores previous work-based consultation.

Ms Laban says there was already a clear set of targets across early childhood, school and tertiary education sectors and the Government has another agenda.

"This is just another excuse to promote national standards when we all know that largely the education sector have not been usually consulted about this and have not arrived at a consensus."