New Zealand has one of the least equal education systems in the world, and experts tell Laura Walters colonisation and racism are largely to blame.
A new report has found New Zealand has one of the least equal education systems in the rich world, with Māori children lagging behind Pākehā.
Further analysis of the report found Māori students falling significantly behind on every measure of educational outcome including secondary school retention rate, school leavers achieving NCEA Level 2, and rate of youth in education, employment or training.
But those who attend Māori immersion schools do much better at reading, and achieve much higher in NCEA and at university or in employment.
While there has been a lot of focus on the impacts of coming from a low-socioeconomic community or household, research carried out in New Zealand (as well as in the United States looking at African American students) has found poverty cannot entirely account for the gap between Māori and Pākehā.
Experts, including the Children’s Commissioner and Associate Education Minister Tracey Martin, say racism and unconscious bias in the mainstream education system play a part in gaps in achievement.