National’s education targets leaving young Kiwis behind

New data shows that Maori and Pasifika students are being encouraged to do less academic subjects to fulfil government targets rather than engage in meaningful learning that will equip them for success later in life, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“The risk with the National government’s target of getting 85% of students achieving NCEA Level 2 was always going to be that students would end up being encouraged to do easier credits to pass rather than undertake study that might challenge them. Data now clearly demonstrates that’s happening.

“The disparities between Maori and non-Maori are particularly concerning, as is the disparity between students from wealthy communities and those from poorer communities.

“Tragically we now have students leaving school with qualifications that lead them nowhere. They may have a piece of paper, but it hasn’t truly equipped them for further study, training or employment.

“Maori and Pasifika students, and students from poor families, should have the same chances of going on to university, an apprenticeship, or employment and students from wealthier areas or who are not Maori or Pasifika.

“NCEA data analysis has shown that Maori and Pasifika students are much less likely to be enrolled in academic subjects and far more likely to be in subjects like tourism, hospitality or a trade. The data shows deep disparities between income groups as well. In decile 1, Maori had the lowest academic participation of any group.

“The Government claims success based on their targets, but these results show huge numbers of young kiwis are missing out. National’s obsession with arbitrary targets is compromising the quality of our kids’ education. It’s not good enough and it has to stop,” says Chris Hipkins.


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