Tagata Pasifika

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Pacific education gets boost from Budget

Government plans to scrap donations for students from decile 1-7 schools after announcing a $265.6million injection into education from this year’s Wellbeing budget.
According to the Budget, schools are expected to receive $150 per student from 2020.
Karl Vasau, Principal for Rowandale School in Manurewa is welcoming the money he says will directly benefit Pacific children who make up a large number decile 1- 7 students.

“[Schools] could put it towards more trips for our students, free stationary, look at providing resources like more equipment for our kids to play with. There’s so much that goes towards how we could potentially use this extra money.”

(Rowandale Principal Karl Vasau welcomes Budget 2019 investment in Pacific education)

$1.2billion will also be invested over ten years into new school infrastructure that will include building three new shcools, four school expansions and 150 new class rooms.

Vasau says “A lot of Pacific live in some of the built up and growing areas in New Zealand, especially in Auckland and so I know that in my own area of Manurewa schools are bursting at the seems.”

“This kind of money towards news classrooms is welcome news for some of schools that are using their halls or their libraries as temporary classrooms.”

The Budget also provides $27.4 million over four years to ensure Pacific student and their families have the skills, knowledge and equitable opportunities to pursue any education pathway.

This includes Pacific PowerUP, an education programme that actively supports parents, families and communities to champion their children’s learning.

$14.5 million has also been allocated for the Ministry for Pacific Peoples to grow opportunities for young people not in employment, education or training.

Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio says “This funding will grow learning and earning opportunities by expanding collaboration with Pacific providers in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch to place up to 2,220 Pacific young people into employment, education or training though the Pacific Employment Support Service.”

Early childhood education will also receive an injection of $131.1m in operational grants. $19.6mil over four years will also support the “mental resilience” of 5600 decile 5 students with additional nurses for the nurses in schools programme.

In a pre-budget announcement earlier this month the Government allocated $95 million over four years to help address the country’s teacher shortages.

Vasau says although spending on education in this year’s Budget is welcome, for teachers it doesn’t go far enough.

“What we need at the moment is for this government to listen to [teachers]. These steps that they’ve announced are going in the right direction but it’s important that you look after the ‘wellbeing’ of the people that are actually teaching in these schools and leading in these schools.”

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