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What is the Action Plan for Pacific Education 2020-2030?

The Action Plan for Pacific Education is the Government and Ministry of Education’s plan to ensure diverse Pacific learners and their families are safe, valued, and equipped to achieve their education aspirations. It was developed in partnership with NZQA, ERO, TEC, the Teaching Council and the Ministry for Pacific Peoples through an interagency working group.

The Action Plan outlines five key system shifts and the actions Government (including the Ministry of Education and education partners) is taking to achieve the shifts and the vision. The Action Plan also outlines how early learning services, schools and tertiary providers can achieve change for Pacific learners and their families. It updates the previous Pasifika Education Plan 2013-2017.

How was the Action Plan created?

We heard from around 2,000 people in 2018, as part of a broader conversation on our education system, on a wide range of issues and opportunities in education and beyond. You can read what was shared in the tabs “What you said: 2018” and “What you said: 2019” on the Pacific Education page on Kōrero Mātauranga.

We identified key changes needed in education based on what we heard and in 2019, we went back to make the Action Plan for Pacific Education together with Pacific communities. We held 28 fono across the country and asked: 

  • Have we honoured and valued your voices in our proposed vision for Pacific education and the changes we need to see to get there?
  • How do we know that we are making progress towards these changes?

These fono led us to produce this Action Plan to identify actions that respond to community aspirations and support, and to launch the first phase of the Action Plan.

Why do we need an Action Plan for Pacific Education?

There are pockets of good practice in the education system for Pacific learners. Evidence suggests that Pacific learners thrive in learning environments with lots of opportunities for collaborative learning where identities, languages and cultures are valued and educationally powerful connections with families and communities are made.

The Pasifika Education Plan 2013-2017 (PEP) supported these good practices through initiatives such as Pacific PowerUP (now Talanoa Ako) but while funding individual initiatives to support Pacific success has had some positive results and has created pockets of good practice and accelerated achievement, the approach fell short of the system changes that were needed to address inequities for Pacific learners.

Where there was progress, it relied on small-scale programmes happening in isolated pockets with limited resourcing. The knowledge and insights gained from these programmes has not been used to change how we can better ensure Pacific learners and their families are consistently valued, safe and equipped to achieve their education aspiration. This fragmented approach has meant that the immense contribution, knowledge and expertise of Pacific communities has largely been ignored.

Pacific families and those in the education sector strongly believe in the power of education to support their aspirations. However, communities are frustrated that issues persist despite repeated feedback and engagement. They want to see a better, collective, culturally responsive way of working that delivers real change. The Action Plan is the first step to map a more responsive way of working because it coordinates action across the Ministry and partner agencies and takes action to invest in innovative practices led by Pacific communities for Pacific communities.  

How does the Action Plan respond to COVID-19?

The first stage of the Action Plan was developed before the COVID-19 pandemic worsened in New Zealand.

Since the end of the engagement period on co-designing the Action Plan, the global and local context changed dramatically due to COVID-19 and the pandemic disrupted the delivery of education for all learners. We know that, because of the ongoing impact of COVID-19, Pacific learners and families will need to access and engage in learning in different ways, including on-site and distance learning.

We also know that many Pacific learners and families already experienced inequitable outcomes in education and have previously been vulnerable to the impacts of a recession. There is a risk that the financial barriers to accessing education will grow and the risks for Pacific learners and their families achieving their education aspirations will be greater than ever before.

The Action Plan responds to COVID-19 with the key priority: to work reciprocally with diverse Pacific communities to respond to unmet needs, with an initial focus on needs arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The key actions in response to COVID-19 within the Action Plan are: 

  • Establish a joint initiative between Education, Health and Social Development to support Pacific families to access the services they need to thrive.
  • Expand Food in Schools to provide free schools lunches for learners in areas with high levels of disadvantage.
  • Investing in Trades and Apprenticeships Training, including making targeted vocational training courses free for all ages.

How do I use the Action Plan?

Early learning services, schools and tertiary providers

Early learning services, schools and tertiary providers play a significant role in the experiences of Pacific learners and families.

The Action Plan includes potential actions, guidance and resources you may wish to use to support Pacific success. This includes planning templates and potential actions to understand what is happening in your place of learning and how you can best give effect to the Action Plan. You can find the supporting material in the full Action Plan document.

You might start by using the planning template on pages 44-47 in the Action Plan to understand what’s happening currently for your Pacific learners and families as a result of COVID-19. This will help prioritise areas to focus on. You can then use the guidance to find resources and identify actions to respond to what you hear from your learners and their families.

Families and communities

Families and communities can also use the Action Plan to think about what’s happening in education for your communities. There is guidance and supporting resources for families and communities in the Action Plan, and a planning template to reflect on what’s happening in your community on page 48.

What new investment is included in the Action Plan?

Budget 20 invests $80.2 million over four years to support Pacific learners to successfully access education and respond to education-related needs as part of the COVID-19 response.                                              

This funding is made up of five components:

  • Establishing an innovation fund that community groups, educators and leaders can access to support innovative education practices that help Pacific learners to thrive as Pacific ($28.5m over four years).
  • Resourcing community providers to assist Pacific learners and families to access support to meet education-related needs ($39.7m over four years).
  • Providing specialised support for Pacific early learning centres – including professional learning and development, governance and management support and supporting children with additional learning needs ($7.6m over four years).
  • Expanding Tautai o le Moana, an educational leadership collaboration which seeks to strengthen the capabilities of principals of schools with high numbers of Pacific learners ($2.89m over four years).
  • Translation of key education-related materials and messages into 10 Pacific languages ($1.5m over two years).

Why are there existing actions in the Action Plan?

The Action Plan outlines the current actions Government is taking and commitments to support Pacific success. These actions and commitments include key actions from Budget 19 initiatives, the wider Education Work Programme and the investment from Budget 20 and the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund that are contributing to the vision of the Action Plan.

There are a number of actions that have been identified and implemented since the first fono in 2018. It was important that the needs and ideas shared throughout the fono continued to inform the work that happens across the education portfolio.

The Action Plan also includes areas to explore that are new actions. Delivery of these actions will require future funding. The actions identified in the Action Plan will be updated each year, with new actions being identified.

What did the previous plan actually deliver? What lessons are being taken from that for the new plan?

Under the previous plan we saw more Pacific children, young people and adults participating, engaging and achieving in education.

Education achievements for Pacific children and young people have been incrementally increasing but the system still does not adequately serve our Pacific communities to achieve their education aspirations.

We need a whole-of-system response to achieving Pacific learner success which is why it is critical that we hear from and include Pacific voices in shaping our future education system.

How is this Action Plan different to previous plans?

Previous Plans

Action Plan for Pacific Education (2020 – 2030)

5 year Pacific Education Plans – have not given sufficient time and support for change to happen.

This Action Plan has a 10 year vision and 5 key shifts needed to realise the vision. Actions will be updated annually to respond to current needs and aspirations. This means that actions must be formulated off of unmet needs to see real change.

Previous plans have focused solely on Government actions with the Ministry of Education and other agencies as the main users.

This Action Plan maps actions of the Government and education partners and also provides tools for places of learning and communities so that they can create their own actions.

Previous plans have been national level plans.

The implementation of this Action Plan will involve the development of local regional priorities that can respond to the unique and diverse needs that each region has.

Previous plans were not monitored frequently and findings were not systematically used to inform changes to the plans.

This Action Plan will be monitored and reported on annually and findings will be used to inform new actions and investment.

Ministry of Education data usually focuses on Pacific as one group and previous plans had actions that were not ethnic-specific.

Where possible, this Action Plan will seek to use data that is ethnic-specific so that actions and regional plans are responsive to the experiences and aspirations of diverse groups.

Previous Government actions for Pacific education have often been fragmented and have not been the core focus of broader Government strategies.

Many of the actions in the Action Plan will be undertaken as part of core Ministry business and information gathered through monitoring will be shared broadly across the Ministry to make sure all Ministry actions are supportive of Pacific success, as well as keeping communities, schools and agencies informed and involved in the next phases of implementation.

How will progress be measured?

There are three key inputs that will help us to monitor the progress of the Action Plan. Qualitative and quantitative data will be gathered from both the Ministry, including relevant data from the sector, and the education agencies. Where possible, we will aim to understand region-specific and ethnic-specific trends and experiences. The three key inputs include:

  • Specific indicators for each action – for example, for the NZQA ma le Pasifika workshops, there are particular measures, such as parent and family voice from the workshops and the number of workshops and people that are reached;
  • Broader relevant measures such as achievement and qualification attainment. These measures, whilst valued by families, are considered too narrow to define success so while they are important, they will not be the main focus of the measurement framework for the Action Plan; and
  • The indicators outlined in the section “How we will know we’re making progress” on page 12 and 13 of the full Action Plan. These are indicators that have been identified as important by Pacific communities through the 2018 and 2019 fono and include indicators such as “Pacific learners and families are free from racism and discrimination in education” and “Pacific families feel confident supporting their children in education”. We do not have consistent ways of monitoring progress for some of these indicators, so we will undertake a process to address that.

What is the role of the Treaty in the Action Plan?

Te Tiriti o Waitangi (Te Tiriti) is a key framework for Pacific people in New Zealand and for the education system. Throughout our fono, many Pacific communities expressed their commitment to Te Tiriti and tino rangatiratanga for tangata whenua.

Diverse Pacific communities are reflected in Te Tiriti as partners through their position as tauiwi. Achieving equitable outcomes in education as tauiwi is an essential part of working in partnership with Māori because it honours the intent of Te Tiriti.

How does the Action Plan relate to Ka Hikitia?

Ka Hikitia is a cross-agency strategy for the education sector that sets out how we will work with the education sector to achieve system shifts in education to support Māori learners and their whānau, hapū and iwi to achieve excellent and equitable outcomes.

Like the Action Plan maps how we can achieve the 30 year Vision for Education for Pacific learners and families, Ka Hikitia outlines how we can achieve the 30 year Vision for ākonga Māori and whānau.

How does the Action Plan support wellbeing?

People who are happy and healthy learn better.

Children and people who feel safe and confident in themselves and in their learning environments, are those who best engage, participate and achieve in education, in work and in life.

Racism, discrimination, bullying, poverty and family violence are issues that affect wellbeing and engagement, and we’ve heard that children and young people are experiencing these challenges in the education system. They impact on confidence, sense of belonging, participation and engagement and achievement.  

For, Pacific learners and their families, recognising their unique identities, languages and cultures are critical to success in education.

The Action Plan sets out a roadmap to support the wellbeing of Pacific learners and families, and confront racism and discrimination and support the wellbeing and material needs of Pacific learners and families.

Key actions in the Action Plan to support this include:

  • Expanding Food in Schools, to provide free schools lunches for learners in areas with high levels of disadvantage.
  • Establishing a joint initiative between Education, Health and Social Development to support Pacific families to access the services they need to thrive.
  • Funding Pacific community organisations and groups to respond to the education and wellbeing needs of Pacific families from COVID-19 and to support them to maintain strong relationships with education providers.

How does the Action Plan address racism?

Pacific young people and families shared that they are experiencing racism in the education system, including the incorrect pronunciation of names, the surprise when Pacific students are smart, and the criticism of scholarships for our Pacific students. This is negatively affecting wellbeing, engagement and mental health.

That is why the second key system shift is to confront systemic racism and discrimination in education.

Addressing and confronting racism and discrimination requires coordinated and focused effort across the education system. The Government is committing to actions across the education system to begin this is the first step in confronting racism and discrimination.

Key actions that the Government is committing to address racism and discrimination include: 

  • The establishment of a racial equity office within the Ministry of Education that oversees, among other things, the Ministry-wide Te Ara Whiti programme focused on building capability to deliver racial equity and to work as a Te Tiriti honouring organisation.
  • The Teaching Council’s work to deliver the “Give Nothing to Racism” project – this will involve the development and sharing of a suite of resources to support teachers to have safe and productive conversations about racism. The resources will be co-constructed with teachers, expert leaders and other agencies.
  • Te Hurihanganui – a programme that will address racism, strengthen equity and accelerate the educational achievement and wellbeing of ākonga Māori and their whānau – working with ākonga, whānau, iwi, community groups and places of learning to address racism and inequity in their community. The learnings will be built back into the system so we can achieve positive transformative shifts for all learners.
  • Delivering new locally-focused PLD priorities with a focus on cultural capability, inclusion and critical consciousness.

How does the Action Plan support Pacific bilingual education?

Pacific communities across the country shared that learning and accessing the curriculum in their language is very important to them and that they want to have more bilingual pathways available to them. As part of the Tomorrow’s Schools Review, the Government committed to exploring the possibility of growing Pacific medium pathways as part of this work.

The first shift of working reciprocally with diverse Pacific communities includes responding to the language aspirations of different Pacific communities, including providing Pacific bilingual education.  

The first stage of key actions we are working on to support this are:

  • Progress work on a Ministry policy on Pacific medium education, to guide future investment
  • Developing further bilingual education resources
  • Producing case studies of effective practice in Pacific bilingual education

We know these are only first steps and more support and action is needed. We want to continue working with you to explore the options for growing quality Pacific language provision.

How does the Action Plan support Pacific languages?

We know that learning in and through Pacific languages was an area of interest for many Pacific communities across the country, including learning as a second language and accessing bilingual language pathways.

The first shift of working reciprocally with diverse Pacific communities includes responding to the language aspirations of different Pacific communities, including supporting and valuing Pacific languages.  

The first stage of key actions we are working on to support this are:

  • Progress work on a Ministry policy on Pacific medium education, to guide future investment
  • Developing further bilingual education resources
  • Producing case studies of effective practice in Pacific bilingual education [ERO]
  • Run fono for contracted teachers of Pacific languages to ensure a shared understanding of quality assessment [NZQA]

We know these are only first steps and more support and action is needed. We want to continue working with you to explore the options for growing quality Pacific language provision.