This year’s budget includes a raft of initiatives to support Māori students and deliver te reo education in schools.
Despite an overall drop in funding for Māori-specific initiatives- from $122mil under a Māori Party-supported National government to $53.7mil under Labour-NZ First- the government claims they are delivering gains to Māori where they matter most.
“Education is key if we are to improve outcomes for Māori. To build a better future, we must prioritise tools that help lift the achievement and wellbeing of our students,” says Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis.
“That is why Budget 2018 advances our plan to strengthen equity, lift the achievement of Māori students, and improve the uptake of te reo Māori across the school system.”
NZEI Te Riu Roa President Lynda Stuart said the new spending failed to deliver more than a minimal patch up on the foundations of education that have been neglected for the past decade.
"There's little point in spending hundreds of millions on new schools and buildings if we haven't even got the groundwork in place to ensure we have enough teachers to fill them," she says.
“The extra $370m for new teacher training places is putting the cart before the horse when enrolments for initial teacher training have fallen off the cliff in recent years. There is nothing in this budget that will make teaching a more appealing career choice and turn the growing teacher shortage around”.
Tahua 2018 Māori education highlights include:
- $1.0 million new operating funding in 2018/19 to investigate how to better support Māori school students to achieve as Māori in English-medium settings.
“Quality teaching is one of the strongest levers we have for lifting the achievement of our students. The Government will work with Māori education experts to develop culturally responsive teaching approaches that reduce issues like unconscious bias,” says Davis.
- Te Kawa Matakura: $690,000 new operating funding in 2017/18, plus $2.1 million operating funding in 2018/19 and 2019/20, to develop a programme and qualification for secondary students who exhibit excellence in te ao Māori.
“Te Kawa Matakura is part of our plan to enable Māori achievement by investing in students who display excellence in matauranga Māori. They contribute to both the Māori world and all of New Zealand. Te Kawa Matakura will develop a qualification for students to formally recognise their excellence,” says Davis.
- Te Ahu o te reo Māori: $1.1 million of new operating funding in 2017/18, plus $11.4 million operating funding over the following three years, for a package of initiatives to lift capability across the system for delivering quality te reo Māori education.
“Te Ahu o te reo Māori will support teachers to deliver te reo in the classroom. It will support all teachers – those already teaching te reo, and those who have the potential but may not yet have the confidence. This is the start of our plan to better integrate te reo into early learning, primary and intermediate schools," says Davis.