MoE deficient in delivering resources to Ōtara students - Principal

By Jessica Tyson

The principal of Sir Edmond Hillary Collegiate in Otara says the Ministry of Education has been deficient in delivering resources to students in the South Auckland community.

During the lockdown, thousands of electronic devices and resources were sent out by the Ministry of Education as part of an $87mil package targeting schools and students most in need.

Kiri Turketo says her school, which is decile one, requested 200 devices for students but only received 73. She says it was the same for other schools in the area.

“I know that speaking to my colleagues at other schools that they had the same, I guess, deficiencies with devices being delivered.”

Meanwhile, she says the schools with higher deciles did receive all of the devices they requested.    

“I’m not sure were the shortfall was," she says.

“I feel personally aggrieved. I feel like we’re almost like the forgotten nation. I feel like I have to fight twice as hard to be half as good or be heard.”

Turketo says it may have been difficult for the ministry to get the devices out to students because of a change in their address or location.

“Because we’re in a vulnerable community our students and our whānau, they could be at an address that’s on a piece of paper that’s in our kura. However, during the lockdown, they could have moved to somewhere else where it was warmer or drier or with their whānau.”    

Turketo says she wants to see all of her Māori students achieve but Māori continues to be "the long brown tail of achievement from the ministry".

“If education is key, then why are the locks different for every student, every kura, every whānau. We know that education is power. Having the knowledge is power but it seems that having the knowledge is power and power is the authority and that’s what I’m coming up against.”

Turketo says thinks there needs to be more Māori at the table.

“We need Māori in principal associations. We need Māori and Pasifika speaking to the ministry, we need people who are at the coalface or the frontline.”

She says she plans to lobby to the ministry.

“Part of that lobbying is not about drowning our voices. It’s about saying, Hey there are some amazing things, some awesome things happening in the community. You need to focus on that.”

Turketo says she received an email saying the devices for her students will arrive sometime this week, but she thinks “the ministry could have done better”.