National | Education

Call to challenge educational inequity at U-Learn 23 conference

Hundreds of educators gathered in Manukau this week at the uLearn 23 conference as a call to action for leaders in the wider education space to challenge educational inequities.

Tàtai Aho Rau chief executive Dr Hana O’Regan says this year’s theme, ‘Kia tū kahikatea - Stand together like kahikatea’, is a reflection of having everyone in education growing as a collective.

“The themes are around mahi tahi, what we can do to identify the inequities that our tamariki and mokopuna are experiencing within learning and education, and then how we might be able to identify positive solutions and approaches.

“Many of these inequities have been around for a long time, so we really wanted to put out there what we can do differently to achieve a different solution,” O’Regan says.

Some keynote speakers include community advocate Dave Letele, activist Pania Newton and musician Che Fu.

Lack of access, opportunity, positive engagement and te ao Māori being misrepresented in education at times are some of the challenges that O’Regan says children are experiencing.

“These are not new but some of them have been compounded because of the environment we have been in with Covid, so there are still some really gnarly issues that we need to work together to respond to.”

Recruitment and retention of teachers add to the tension that current educators are feeling.

“We don’t respect our kaiako enough, I think, as a country. That means there’s not enough incentive to draw them in. We need to do a lot more to support them to enable them to do what they do best, which is support our tamariki to thrive.

“We’ve got a lot more to do to promote the occupation.”

Public Interest Journalism