Questions and answers: Pasifika Education Plan 2013-2017 consultation
What is the Pasifika Education Plan?
The Pasifika Education Plan (PEP) is the document where the government sets out its goals for the education achievement of Pasifika learners. There have been five Pasifika Education Plans since they were first established. The new one will be the sixth.
What was the focus of the last plan?
The last PEP had goals around
- Pasifika participation in and quality of early childhood education
- Engaging Pasifika parents in early childhood education
- Improved progress in numeracy and literacy
- Increasing the responsiveness of schools to Pasifika learners and families
- Increasing Pasifika parent and school engagement
- Increasing retention and achievement of Pasifika students in tertiary education at Level 4 and above
- Increasing English literacy, numeracy and language levels for the Pasifika workforce.
Where did the last plan take us? What has gone right and what hasn’t?
Of the 15 targets of the PEP 2009-12 which have been monitored, 10 have been achieved. The five which have not been achieved relate to:
- Increasing the number of Pasifika children accessing early intervention services
- Decreasing the Pasifika school expulsion rate
- Improving the representation of Pasifika parents on school boards
- Increasing the five-year completion rates of Pasifika students at levels 4 and above in tertiary education
- Increasing the numbers of Pasifika students who are continuing their tertiary education to post graduate level.
Why do we need a new plan?
We need a new plan because even though many targets have been achieved, Pasifika learners are still not achieving at the average levels for all New Zealand students. We need to go harder and faster on having Pasifika students, no less successful than other learners.
Why will a new plan make any difference?
The new plan will make a difference because there will be increased accountability in the sector for achieving targets. Also the new plan will make it clearer, through an implementation plan, what it is that people in the sector and parents and communities need to do to achieve the new goals and targets.
How will the education system use the plan?
All of the Ministry of Education, Education Review Office (ERO), New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA), Careers New Zealand and the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) will be joined up in developing implementation plans that support the Plan itself. The Plan will also make it much clearer for schools, early childhood education (ECE) services and tertiary education providers and what's expected of them.
How will we know the plan is working?
There will be regular monitoring of what is being achieved against the targets. Ultimately, we will know if the parts of the plan are working if the majority of Pasifika children are attending early childhood services, if NCEA level 2 results improve to at least the same levels as the New Zealand population as a whole and if at least the same proportion of Pasifika tertiary students achieve at level 4 and above.
Will the plan be mandated?
The details of the plan will not be separately mandated. The National Education Guidelines already mandate for the achievement of Pasifika learners. Schools will be accountable through the ERO reports and through their Charters and reports on the achievement of their Charter goals.
Why are you consulting with us now when you don’t have a new plan to show us?
We are consulting you now because, though we know in broad terms what government wants to achieve, we need your input to help us work out what are the best ways of achieving higher Pasifika educational success.
Do you already have a plan drafted? Do you already know the targets? Will what we say now make a difference?
We do not have a draft plan. What we do know now is what we have achieved in the past and what we have not, and we know the direction the government wants to take the plan. So we have the shape of the plan in terms of goals but we do not have targets or actions. We are consulting particularly about what you think the actions are that the education sector and families and communities should take to achieve more and faster for Pasifika education.
Why is the consultation period so short?
Government has already signalled what the major goals are for the new Pasifika Plan and is keen to move forward quickly on a new plan.
Can we have more input once the plan has been developed?
There will be further consultation once the plan has been developed but it will be a tightly targeted consultation with groups that represent wider audiences.
Application of the Plan
What will the new plan mean for my school/ECE service?
The new plan is expected to give strong signals to schools and ECE services about what they need to do to contribute to the achievement of the plan. The bottom lines are:
- attracting and retaining Pasifika children to quality ECE services
- monitoring, knowing about and working to improve the achievement of Pasifika learners in schools
- retaining and graduating students in tertiary learning, especially at level 4 and above
- schools/ECE services engaging Pasifika parents and communities strongly in discussing the needs of children and how parents and communities can contribute to their learning.
How will the plan help my child?
The plan will tell parents and learners what they can expect of ECE services, schools, and tertiary education organisations. It should help parents to discuss with schools/ECE services what they are doing for Pasifika learners.
There will be increased attention on how education providers meet their obligations to Pasifika learners and parents.
As parents, what will we do with this plan?
Parents can use the plan when it is published to think about the best ways they can help their child be successful in education. Parents can also use the plan to help them talk with schools and ECE services when they are discussing what their children are experiencing at school/ECE and what either the schools/ECE services or parents need to do differently to help learners.
How do we or you make schools, ECE services and tertiary education organisations pay attention to the plan?
Pasifika parents and learners have the right to expect ECE services, schools and tertiary education organisations to be responsive to their needs and to discuss their concerns when they are not responsive.
The Ministry of Education, ERO and TEC all have a role in ensuring that education providers meet their obligations.
Should I be trying to get my child to speak English at home?
Your children will make faster progress and probably be more confident and comfortable at school if they have a grasp of English when they go to school. If your child does not speak English when they start school, it is a good idea to talk to the school and ask what additional support your child will be given when they start school so that they can progress as quickly a possible to learn through the medium of the English language.
How do I help my child’s transition into school?
The best thing you can do is make sure your child takes part in early childhood education (ECE). Ask your ECE about getting a B4 school check for your child. Also register your child early into a school and ask if they have a transition programme for children before they officially start school.
What help will I get to send my child to ECE? It costs me too much to do it?
The current policy is that every New Zealand child can get 20 hours of early childhood education per week without charge.
We have hardly any Pasifika students in our school. How is this relevant to us?
The plan is relevant to you whenever you have a learner and parents who are Pasifika no matter what the numbers are. Your responses might be different with different levels of Pasifika learners but the goals are as relevant to you as to any other school.
Identity, language and culture
How will the plan focus on Pasifika identities, cultures and languages?
The plan will be based on potential and is underpinned by an education sector that values identities, languages and cultures, and fosters perseverance and discipline, to ensure that all Pasifika learners achieve.
Are there going to be resources for children whose first language is not English?
The plan will continue to support Pasifika languages and this means that the Pasifika language resources in five Pasifika languages will continue. Schools can access them from the Ministry of Education’s warehouse.
Will the plan make it easier for schools to set up bi-lingual units for Pasifika learners?
The goals and targets of the Pasifika Education Plan (PEP) are set within current government policies. There is no policy that provides additional funding for schools who want to provide bi-lingual units for Pasifika learners. Schools need to make such arrangements within the operational and staffing funding that they currently receive.
How do the Pasifika Plans of New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA), Careers New Zealand and Tertiary Education Commission relate to the new PEP?
The current plans (or the ones currently being consulted on) from NZQA, Careers New Zealand and the TEC, are very consistent with the goals which the government has given for Pasifika education. So their plans will be like subsets of the new PEP, with more detail as to how the Plan will be achieved.