The Minister of Education, Hekia Parata signals this as her chief concern in her contribution to the supplement.
“About 70,000 new entrants start school each year. As I have said, the vast majority of those do well, enjoy their education and go on to further academic study, skills training, or employment. But about 10 percent do not. These young people are at the highest risk of poor education outcomes. And we need to be alert to that risk and find ways to help them to be successful while also ensuring those who are doing well are helped to do even better.
“Too many of those that have not fared well in our education system are Māori, Pasifika, come from poorer homes or have special education needs – or a mix of all these.”
The Minister’s comments echo the Ministry of Education report,New Zealand Schools – A report on the compulsory schools sector in New Zealand 2013, which was released earlier this week. In the foreword Parata points to the gap in student achievement as an area for improvement.
Other contributors to the Education Review supplement, including Allan Vester, Angela Roberts, Bill Courtney and John Morris, also highlight their concerns about the growing equity gap and the effect it is having on student achievement. Many Twitter respondents also felt this was the biggest challenge facing New Zealand education.