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What is the Pacific Education Innovation Fund?

The Pacific Education Innovation Fund is for innovative practice in Pacific education that supports the wellbeing needs and curriculum needs of Pacific learners and families arising from or made worse by COVID-19. It is funded through Budget 20 as part of the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund.

It provides innovation grants to early learning services, schools, tertiary providers, community groups, providers and researchers to:

  • respond to local wellbeing and curriculum needs of Pacific learners and families arising from and/or exacerbated by COVID-19 in innovative ways, including in Pacific bilingual and immersion education.
  • support the innovative delivery of Pacific Bilingual and Immersion Education during the COVID-19 recovery.
  • resource innovative education practices by Pacific communities and educators and learn what works for Pacific learners and communities.
  • $6m will be available each year; 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023.

The Pacific Innovation Fund is funded through Budget 20, through the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund.

Why is the Innovation Fund needed?

  • We know COVID-19 has made things harder for some Pacific learners and families, putting pressure on their wellbeing and ability to engage in education. We also know that Pacific communities are innovative and able to respond to these needs and the effect of COVID-19 on education.

  • We know that Pacific language development through bilingual and immersion education is an important factor in engagement for many Pacific families.

How is this fund different to the Government’s other funding for Wellbeing and Curriculum?

This funding is specifically targeted to support Pacific learners’ wellbeing and curriculum needs, which have been affected by COVID-19. It aligns with the wider Government focus on wellbeing and attendance, including delivering new Curriculum Lead roles, the Urgent Response Fund, support for learner mental health, support for educators’ wellbeing, and access to guidance counselling and counselling services.

Who can apply to the Fund?

The Fund is open to:

  • groups and representatives of early learning centres, schools and/or tertiary providers.
  • community groups and organisations, including churches.
  • researchers and academics affiliated to a tertiary institution or research institute.
  • Education and social sector providers

You or your group must include a person of 18 years of age or older to apply. You or your group must be a legal entity or connected to a legal entity to be eligible.

What counts as innovation?

We are looking for creative, collaborative and different ways of delivering education for Pacific learners and families that reduce the impacts of COVID-19 on their education, including:

  • unique and specialised Pacific teaching and learning models for Pacific learners and families to implement or scale up;
  • creating or expanding unique curriculum resources for groups of Pacific learners and families; and
  • programmes or projects that meet unmet education and wellbeing needs by Pacific for Pacific

What counts as Pacific bilingual and immersion education in the Pacific bilingual and immersion funding stream?

Bilingual and immersion education is where learners and families are accessing education and learning aligned to the national curricula through a Pacific language. It does not include learning a Pacific language as a second language.

For the Innovation Fund:

  • Bilingual education is where a Pacific language is used as the language of instruction or delivery of learning at least 50% of the time.
  • Immersion education is where a Pacific language is used as the language of instruction or delivery of learning at least 80% of the time.
  • Pacific languages are the indigenous languages of the Pacific region.

The Ministry expects that bilingual and immersion education projects clearly demonstrate links to Te Whāriki and the New Zealand Curriculum, where appropriate.

What are the bilingual and cultural competency expectations of applicants?

We expect that applicants have sufficient bilingual and cultural competencies to work effectively with Pacific communities to implement their project, for example demonstrated experience working with Pacific learners, thorough understandings of Pacific worldviews and fluency in a Pacific language. Applicants can show that they have this experience when filling in the application form.

Why is there a funding stream dedicated to innovation in Pacific bilingual and immersion education?

We know that Pacific bilingual and immersion education delivery is innovative and supports Pacific learners to succeed as themselves. We also know that Pacific language development through bilingual and immersion education is an important factor in engagement for many Pacific families.

Pacific bilingual and immersion education is particularly affected by COVID-19, due to the lack of specific system support for Pacific bilingual and immersion education. The Innovation Fund provides up to $2.5m to specifically support innovative practices in bilingual and immersion education.

You can apply to access funding to:

  • embed and expand innovative models of delivery in Pacific bilingual and immersion education to work in a COVID-19 context
  • develop and distribute new, innovative curriculum resources, including multimedia, online and audio resources for groups of learners and families
  • support upskilling in innovative practices, through professional learning
  • develop new programmes and delivery models in a service or school

What impact will COVID-19 Alert levels have on the Fund?

The Fund has been designed to specifically respond to wellbeing and curriculum needs for Pacific learners and families during and after the COVID-19 response.

The management of the Fund will adapt to different Alert levels as required, such as face-to-face activities being carried out online where possible. It is expected that each applicant will outline how they will deliver their projects within Alert Levels and public health guidelines.

This information in 10 Pacific languages:

Fäeag Rotuma

Gagana Sāmoa

Gagana Tokelau

Te Taetae ni Kiribati

Lea Faka Tonga

Solomon Islands Pijin

te 'gana Tuvalu

te reo Māori Kuki 'Āirani

Vagahau Niue

na vosa Vakaviti