Sharples Has It Totally Wrong

  • Brian Donnelly
Associate Minister of Education (Early Childhood Education and Maori Education)

Comments (NZ Herald and NZPA) by M aori Education Trust chairman, Pita Sharples on the government's position on kura kaupapa are totally wrong, the Associate Minister of Education, Brian Donnelly, said today.

"Dr Sharples seems to be pushing his own agenda and has not bothered to find out the facts first," Mr Donnelly said. "It is totally incorrect that the government has not consulted with the runanga. Early last year I talked with its president over how we should start new kura. The runanga has subsequently presented us with its ideas which are being used by the Ministry of Education and Te Puni Kokiri in the policy development.

"It is not true that the government has shelved the development of kura kaupapa. Both myself and the government are supportive of this form of education for those who wish it.

"However, Dr Sharples needs to face up to the fact that half the existing kura are under School Support projects. The government is committing considerable resources to creating an adequate supply of teachers fluent in te reo to meet the demand for Kura Kaupapa Maori education. It is also giving priority to the development of curriculum materials written in te reo.

"Dr Sharples is prepared to sacrifice quality for quantity. This government is not. We want to ensure that we set up new kura to succeed and to provide the students with the highest quality of education delivered in the richest of te reo. Dr Sharples will not influence government's thinking by tantrum-like outbursts.

"I object to the suggestion that we are telling lies. Quite the opposite. We are being brutally honest. Dr Sharples should stop pushing his own agenda at the expense of objectivity."