The implementation of compulsory Te Reo Māori classes is just one of many changes students want in schools according to the Education Matters to Me: Experiences of Tamariki and Rangatahi Māori report.
About 1,500 students were surveyed about their experiences in school for the report, one of six which were prepared jointly by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner and the New Zealand School Trustees Association.
Lorraine Kerr and the Children’s Commissioner Andrew Becroft say they recommend further opportunities for children and young people’s participation in their education system.
“The more we listen to the voices of children and young people, the richer will be our understanding of what can make a great education system in Aotearoa,” says Becroft, “These reports should be seen as a foundation and incentive for future and on-going engagement with children and young people in education issues and all issues that affect them.”
One Māori student said he was once asked to perform a haka to entertain visitors.
But that was the only time his principal paid attention to Māori culture according to the student.
The lack of appropriate and meaningful ways to connect in mainstream English-medium schools, compounded by negative expectations of teachers and peers, came through strongly as contributing factors in the experience of many rangatahi who are now in alternative education.
The report can be read in full here.