Pacific people want to see more of their culture and values in education

Pacific people want to be valued and see more of their culture and identity reflected in New Zealand’s education system, says Associate Minister of Education Jenny Salesa, who has just concluded a series of pan-Pacific Education fono across the country.

As part of the ongoing Education Conversation | Kōrero Mātauranga, eight fono were conducted in South Auckland, West Auckland, Hamilton, Christchurch, Oamaru, Porirua, Lower Hutt and Dunedin.

“Over 2,000 people attended these fono and we received over 6,000 comments, with more than a thousand from young people under the age of 24. Over 1,200 people also completed our online survey,” said Jenny Salesa.

“Many Pacific learners spoke about the pressure of ‘walking in multiple worlds’ and they want the system to be more understanding of these challenges. A number of students, parents and some educators felt that cultural bias and racism exist towards them in education.

“We heard from many who want the diversity of their various cultures to be recognised, rather than being lumped together as ‘Pacific’.

“As we celebrate Tongan Language Week, I note the many comments from Pacific young people who want their languages to be celebrated every day, not just one week of the year.

“We also heard the need for more Pacific teachers as well as more support for teachers working with Pacific learners. I am currently working with the Ministry of Education and the Education Council to address this. We want to ensure there are better tools and training available for teachers of Pacific learners.

“The Government is committed to achieving an inclusive education system that encourages all Pacific learners to achieve their potential. The findings of these fono will be published on the Kōrero Mātauranga website and this work will be used to inform changes to the education system.

“I am pleased that what we have heard so far reflects our priority areas for Pacific education. This includes quality teaching and learning, and the role of parents, families and communities – which are underpinned by language, culture and identity.

“Over the next few months, I intend to refine these priority areas and ensure our Pacific communities are engaged and informed,” said Jenny Salesa.


The Education Conversation | Kōrero Mātauranga online survey is open till 14 October 2018.