Here is the basic profile of education in Hawke’s Bay and NZ.

Currently, there are about 27,916 pupils in Hawke’s Bay attending 115 schools – 16,822 pupils in the Bay’s primary schools, 10,140 students in secondary schools and 954 in composite schools, such as the Hastings Christian School. The total number of primary and secondary students in Hawke’s Bay has decreased by 546 from 2006 to 2008.

According to Statistics New Zealand’s 2006 national census, 36% of people age 15 years and older in Hawke’s Bay have a post-school qualification, compared with 40% of people throughout New Zealand. However, 31 percent of people aged 15 years and over have no formal qualifications, compared with 25 percent for New Zealand as a whole.
The trend in Hawke’s Bay has been for more people to achieve education qualifications at most levels and for fewer to have no qualifications. In 1996, for example, 4.7% of people age 15 years and over in Hawke’s Bay held university degrees, but by 2006 that had increased to 9%, or about 8,000 people. Those with post-school certificates had also risen. While the number of people with no qualifications had decreased from 40,791 in 1996 to 31,347 in 2006.

In 2007, EIT had about 8700 enrolled students, fully 69% of whom were 26 years old or older (31% were age 46 or older).

Deciles and performance

Schools are ranked using the national decile school rating system. This 1-10 system relates not to the quality of a school, but to the incomes of the families from which it draws its students. Thus, a decile 1 school will have a high proportion of children from families with low incomes and a decile 10 school will have a low proportion of low-income children. The decile rating is used by the government to provide funding to schools, with the low-decile schools receiving more funding per pupil than the high decile schools.
According to Te Kete Ipurangi, The Online Learning Centre, another of the Ministry of Education’s websites, there are 115 primary-secondary schools in Hawke’s Bay. Of these eighteen are decile 1, fifteen are decile 2, nineteen are decile 3, and eight are decile 10, with 54 schools rated deciles 4 to 9.

To demonstrate the connection between decile rating and overall socio-economic status, the six schools in Flaxmere are all ranked decile 1.  Of the five schools in Havelock North, two are decile 10, two are decile 9 and one is decile 5.

The fact is that a greater proportion of pupils in low-decile schools tend to fail. “Young people from schools that draw their students from low socio-economic communities are less likely than other young people to attain higher school qualifications,” notes the Ministry of Social Development in its Social Report 2008. “In 2007, only 49 percent of school leavers from deciles 1-3 schools (in the most disadvantaged communities) attained qualifications at NCEA Level 2 or above, compared with 62 percent of those leaving deciles 4-7 schools and 79 percent of those leaving deciles 8-10 schools.”

“Students from socio-economically disadvantaged communities and Maori students have relatively poor rates of school participation and engagement and for some groups it is continuing to worsen,” reports the Ministry of Education in Education Counts, the Ministry’s report on the state of education in New Zealand in 2007.

The Ministry also reports: “The proportion of school leavers with upper secondary school qualifications varies widely by ethnic group. Asian students who left school in 2007 had the highest proportion with NCEA Level 2 or above, followed by European school leavers, then Pacific and Maori school leavers.”

Upgrading skills

Research undertaken in 2006 found that approximately 1.1 million New Zealanders (43% of adults aged 16 to 65) have literacy skills below those needed to participate fully in a knowledge society and 51% of adults have numeracy skills lower than those needed to meet the complex demands of everyday life and work.

About 29% of Pakeha students leave school with less than a NCEA Level 2 qualification, compared to 56% of Maori and 44% of Pacific Islanders. On the other hand, 52% of school leavers go directly into some form of tertiary education. Latest figures indicate 440,000 students enrolled in tertiary institutions, representing 13.3% of the population over age 15.

By comparison, about 176,000 individuals were involved in some kind of formal industry training program in 2006.

Upgrading New Zealanders’ skills is the focus of the Skill New Zealand Tripartite Forum, which brings together government ministers and officials, Business New Zealand, the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions, and the Industry Training Federation to work in partnership to implement a unified Skills Strategy.

“New Zealand’s continued wealth and economic transformation will depend on the skills of its workers and how firms, industry and trade unions support New Zealand workers to achieve their potential,” the Forum states. “New Zealand’s low levels of literacy, language and numeracy have been identified as contributors to our relatively low productivity. Low literacy and numeracy levels can affect employees’ level of engagement in the workplace and potential for advancement in the labour market.

The Forum is working through the Tertiary Education Commission “to progressively increase the number of adults who have the literacy and numeracy skills required to meet the changing demands of modern society and workplaces.”  The project has $168 million to work with over four years.


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