1492090938097 - Maori and Pasifika NCEA pass rates improved, but disparity persists at university

Maori and Pasifika NCEA pass rates improved, but disparity persists at university

More Maori and Pasifika students are passing NCEA but their rate of entry into university is still lagging.

Education Minister Hekia Parata was “delighted” by the growth in Maori and Pasifika achievement – an average of 26.8 per cent at NCEA Level 2, or 3.35 per cent per year – between 2008 and 2016.

Eight years ago “Maori and Pasifika students were struggling, with almost half leaving school without NCEA Level 2,” Parata said.

“A good education is a passport for the future, and NCEA Level 2 is our recognised minimum standard for going on to better tertiary options. I am sure parents and educators will join with me in celebrating these significant increases in achievement by all of our young people.”

READ MORE: * Gap between Maori and Pasifika students’ NCEA success remains wide * Maori and Pasifika students gaining NCEA from playing rugby * Struggling students pushed to take soft subjects

While it welcomed the improvement, umbrella organisation Universities New Zealand (UNZ) said a “persistent achievement gap” remained in tertiary education.

Gains in Maori and Pasifika students’ Level 2 achievement, up 23 and 29 per cent respectively, outstripped a 10 per cent gain for Europeans and 13 per cent for Asian students.

Beyond high school the numbers looked a lot different, with 31.4 per cent of Maori and 30.7 per cent of Pasifika students gaining University Entrance compared to European and Asian students, whose rates of entry were 57.8 and 66.5 per cent respectively.

To achieve University Entrance, students must pass NCEA Level 3, among other requirements.

UNZ executive director Chris Whelan said vice-chancellors across New Zealand were concerned by the “significant disparity”.

“This means that a significant proportion of Maori and Pasifika do not have the opportunity to take on university education, with the significant benefits that it brings to them and their families, and to New Zealand as a whole.”

The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) has decided to set individual parity targets for universities after widespread failure to improve Maori and Pasifika pass rates to match the general student population.

Maori degree completion rates averaged 67 per cent with Pasifika students averaging 55 per cent in 2015.

TEC chief executive Tim Fowler said the organisation hoped to use the “richer information” now at its disposal to look at possible systemic issues impacting Maori and Pasifika achievement.