The Government is investing $39.7 Million over four years to support the educational needs of Pacific learners and families in the regions hardest hit by COVID-19, with Auckland getting an immediate boost, Associate Minister of Education Jenny Salesa says.
“Like all New Zealanders Pacific families want learners to do well in education. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has amplified the existing inequities in our education system and has led to increased pressures on Pacific learners and families.
“The Pacific Education Support Fund, being launched today, will ensure that, in the current climate, Pacific learners have improved access to culturally competent support services for attendance and active engagement. In addition, the Fund will support access to on-site learning services and ongoing educational and training pathways. The Fund will also ensure that the connections between Pacific families and places of learning is really strengthened.
“Our Pacific communities know the needs of our Pacific students best. This is why decisions on what initiatives to fund, and where, will involve local Pacific education and community representatives, working with Ministry of Education regional staff,” Jenny Salesa said.
For 2020/21 $3.5 million of the Support Fund is now open to Auckland Pacific community organisations and Pacific providers to respond to Pacific learner’s immediate education and wellbeing needs. This allocation reflects the high number of Pacific learners in the Auckland region.
Applications from the Auckland region close on 16 October. The Fund will open to four other regions next month. Auckland-based Pacific providers and community organisations can apply for funding to support education-related needs, including:
- connecting Pacific learners and families with appropriate services which provide support for education-related needs, for example with on-site learning and accessing ongoing education and training pathways; and
- building reciprocal relationships between Pacific families and places of learning to ensure that Pacific learners stay connected to education.
This funding is part of the $80.2m investment in Pacific Education through the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, which was announced as part of the Pacific Peoples COVID recovery plan on the 14th of May, 2020 and in the Action Plan for Pacific Education 2020-2030.
“I want to acknowledge the many Pacific community organisations, Pacific providers and government agencies who have been working tirelessly to support students and their families during COVID-19. This additional funding will enable them to continue, and to expand, the great work they are doing within Pacific communities to help our children fulfil their educational potential,” Jenny Salesa said.