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A new professional development programme aimed at improving Pasifika achievement in schools was launched in Dunedin yesterday.
The Ministry of Education contracted programme - Pasifika Success Talanoa Project (PSTP) - was run in Invercargill, Oamaru, Ashburton, Christchurch and Marlborough last year, and now it is Dunedin's turn.
Project facilitator and former Forbury School principal Janice Tofia said this week it was an opportunity for the Pasifika community in Dunedin to come together, collaborate and weave together knowledge and ideas to support teachers and school leaders with the implementation of effective and innovative programmes to help pupils reach their full potential.
''Essentially, it aims to build capacity and capability of teachers and school leaders so they can be culturally responsive to the needs and aspirations of Pasifika learners.
''It's all about raising Pasifika achievement. The achievement of Pasifika pupils is not good in New Zealand.''
Ministry statistics in 2012 showed 68.1% of Pasifika 18-year-olds in New Zealand had achieved NCEA level 2 or equivalent, compared with 78.3% of non-Pasifika 18-year-olds.
It also showed years 1-8 Pasifika pupils were well below the National Standards targets in reading, writing and mathematics.
Teachers and school leaders from Otago Girls' High School, Otago Boys' High School, King's High School, Queen's High School, Kavanagh College, St Joseph's Cathedral School, Brockville School and Pine Hill School have been selected to participate in the programme, she said.
Several workshops have been held already, and the programme was presented to the Dunedin community last night during the launch at the King's and Queen's Performing Arts Centre.
School leaders spoke about the work they are doing to increase their cultural competence to better meet the needs of children in the community.