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Auditor General slams Ministry of Education on Maori education performance

New Zealand’s Auditor General, Lyn Provost, has taken aim at the Ministry of Education for not having enough information on the impacts on the work being done to life Maori achievement. The report, released today, has looked at the performance of initiatives over the last five years with the Auditor General suggesting progress for Maori was slow.

"In our view, because it uses public money to fund programmes and initiatives, the Ministry of Education needs to work out how much these activities cost, whether they are effective, and whether they add any value overall, and to Maori students in particular."

“Having analysed the differences in achievement between similar schools, I see a great opportunity for poorer-performing schools to learn from similar but better-performing schools. This might take some breaking down of old attitudes and barriers to collaboration but, in my view, there is huge potential for Māori to enjoy more educational success as Māori. This is not a "pie in the sky" notion. Significant improvement in Māori education is a realistic objective.”

“There are many good practices and good results in our schools and educational agencies. I would like to see people throughout the education system encourage collaboration and co-operation, and spread good practices to lift the performance of those schools that are lagging behind.”

“The Ministry of Education's data shows that, in 2015, $5.0 billion was spent on property, operational, and teaching costs in primary and secondary schools. This equates to $7,046 for each student or about $1.2 billion for all Māori students.”

“Right now, there are too many Māori education initiatives that are not connected or evaluated for cost-effectiveness. A more coherent set of initiatives would probably result in better outcomes. This would be an immense help to everyone in the school system. I know it is difficult to stop programmes, but I hope someone has the courage to try.”

“The central concept of the Māori education strategy, Ka Hikitia, is "Māori succeeding as Māori". Getting to grips with the concept does not need to result in hair-splitting about its meaning. In my view, the absence of a clear definition is not a barrier to getting on with it. Many schools are getting on with applying the intent of the strategy in terms of what makes sense to their whānau and their Māori community. Circulating examples of how schools successfully translate the strategy into action would really help those who are struggling with this aspect and would help to get more value out of a well-researched and widely supported strategy.”

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