Island education buoyed by university partnership

June 2, 2017

Island education buoyed by university partnership

The ERO report found Tokelau lacked effective teacher training and professional development. Photo: Supplied

An initiative spearheaded by a New Zealand university has boosted academic performance in Tokelau schools.

The project, led by Massey University academic Diane Leggett, has seen improvements in student achievement for Tokelau and English language studies as well as mathematics.

Data regularly collected from the classrooms on a yearly basis found these improvements in the project.

Ms Leggett has been working in Tokelau since an Education Review Office report on Tokelau was released in 2013.

The team was contracted to work with Tokelau by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to address the recommendations found in the ERO report.

The report found the models, materials and assessment methods on Tokelau were based on 1960s New Zealand education systems.

Ms Leggett said by working alongside her Tokelau colleagues, they were motivated to make changes.

The work is part of a four-year education plan where Massey facilitators are helping in role modelling and assisting in principal and teacher planning strategies to better improve teaching standards to then have a positive impact on student achievement.

Auckland University anthropologist and Tokelau expert Dr Judith Huntsman said it was great to create new educational resources but the existing ones on the island were not being used to their full capacity.

A Massey University release quoted Tokelau as “one of the planet’s remotest places”.

Dr Huntsman said she did not think this isolation necessarily affected the delivery of education on the island.

She added more money was needed for teachers to further their qualifications.

Ms Leggett said the work Massey University will be completed by 2020 but ongoing improvements will always be needed.

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