By Suausi Vienna Richards email@example.com
The Education Ministry's online survey to hear the views of New Zealanders on the education system is struggling to get a strong response rate from Pacific communities.
The Education Conversation, or Kōrero Mātauranga, which includes two Education summits beginning this weekend, is part of a Government effort to hear the views of New Zealanders.
Associate Minister for Education Jenny Salesa says Government want to ensure that “ we take people’s voices to ensure that as we design an education system moving forward for the next 10, 20, 30 years that is fit for purpose.”
However, the Ministry’s efforts to reach and engage Pacific people has attracted just over five percent.
Associate Minister of Education Jenny Salesa. Photo credit: labour.org.nz
“Now the (survey) numbers for Pacific people though I’ve got to say must improve,“ she says.
“That overall total there’s just been over 250 people who have identified that they are Pacific people.”
She has raised the low survey response rate with the Ministry of Education.
“So there is an agreement now that in addition to having an online survey, that a survey be printed out so that we have a version that is hard copy,” says the Minister.
“Not all the Pacific people where they live have access to computers or the Internet.”
The Associate Minister says the survey has been translated into five languages and “we are promoting that people can actually fill in this survey in these five different languages.”
But there is a complete absence or lack of visibility of any direct promotional efforts to Pacific communities, outside of the Ministry's website and the survey link itself that it is available in the Samoan, Cook Islands, Tongan, Niuean and Tokelauan languages.
“So one of the things that we know we need to improve, as you say...the numbers of people who are filling out the online survey are not as high as I would have liked in terms of Pacific,” says Minister Salesa.
“We are working with the Ministry of Education on a social media strategy especially to promote during the two education summits.”
In addition to the education summits in Auckland and Christchurch, the Associate Minister says they will also hold regional Pacific summits or fono to reach Pacific people directly.
According to Census 2013, New Zealand's Pacific population number more than 295,000. Samoans make up more than 49 percent of the total Pacific population, followed by Cook Islands and Tongans ethnic groups numbering over 20 percent each respectively.
The online survey is also available in Chinese, Hindi and Korean.