Part 6: Future of Ka Hikitia

Education for Māori: Implementing Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success.

In our view, Ka Hikitia is a well-researched and well-regarded initiative that faltered at launch but is now recovering. In this Part, we discuss some of our expectations about the future and ongoing operation of Ka Hikitia.

Although we make specific recommendations earlier in the report, this Part outlines our views on what could improve the effect of Ka Hikitia. The Part also highlights the importance of collaboration and partnership, which is the subject of the next audit in our series about Māori education.

We discuss our expectations for:

We make one recommendation in this Part.

Better leadership, governance, accountability, and practice

Strong leadership and accountability mechanisms are needed throughout the Ministry to ensure the ongoing implementation of Ka Hikitia into day-to-day business. Better planning is also needed to communicate and co-ordinate with schools and other education sector agencies.

The Ministry's Statement of Intent 2012-2017 contains a clear and explicit emphasis on improving outcomes for Māori learners through "improvements to the system".41 In our view, the Ministry will show better leadership of Ka Hikitia by more closely linking the importance of Ka Hikitia to daily business, making quicker decisions about how Ka Hikitia is integrated into the Ministry's business, and estimating more realistically what it needs to do to put into effect strategies such as Ka Hikitia more effectively. Better accountability supports better leadership and governance. We expect to see:

  • clear planning and reporting about how different work is helping to put Ka Hikitia into effect;
  • clear accountabilities for carrying out actions associated with Ka Hikitia that have consequences if they are not carried out as planned; and
  • strong procedures to manage risks, including early-warning systems that monitor the overall progress of putting Ka Hikitia into effect.

We expect to see evidence of good governance of Ka Hikitia, such as clearly defined and assigned leadership responsibilities and monitoring how well managers are integrating Ka Hikitia throughout the Ministry and delivering on their responsibilities.

Better implementation will require specific implementation and communication plans, more co-ordination with education agencies, and more practical guidance for schools.

Intervening more coherently

The Ministry, education agencies, and schools all bear responsibility for building effective working relationships that will support improvements in the educational outcomes for Māori students. The Ministry could help this by showing how outputs fit together.

In our view, improving the perceived coherence of Ministry outputs – strategies, policies, programmes, and other initiatives – could improve the relationship between schools and the Ministry. During and after our audit fieldwork, we were told that Government decisions and the way the Ministry has delivered some of them have left schools feeling aggrieved.

As the lead agency, the Ministry is responsible for building trust as the basis for fruitful discussion towards the common purpose of improving educational outcomes for Māori students. Principals and teachers are responsible for responding in kind and building effective working relationships towards this common purpose.

It would be helpful for the Ministry to map the connections between outputs to make it clear to schools how those outputs fit together. These outputs include programmes, papers, contact, people, and strategies. The Ministry could show schools how other work benefits Ka Hikitia. For example, guidance could be provided to show how National Standards information can be used to meet the aims of Ka Hikitia. This could add value to both initiatives and show how they work together – rather than at the expense of each other.

More collaboration and sharing of ideas and good practice between schools

Schools could seek opportunities for accessing and sharing resources, and sharing experience and practices that support Māori students' educational success.

We encourage schools to seek further opportunities for collaboration and to share ideas and good practice to support their Māori students' achievement. We also encourage schools to take advantage of useful resources available and to share their experience of working with these resources.

For 2013, we note that the Best Evidence Synthesis (BES) summary and exemplar information is being provided free to New Zealand teachers and schools by email request. By request, schools can also access the original research behind the BES reports. In our view, the Ministry provides easy access to the knowledge needed to improve Māori students' achievement.

Since 1998, the Ministry has provided an online system called Te Kete Ipurangi (TKI) – the online "knowledge basket". Under TKI, there are several links, including the Te Mang roa website, which provides resources and sharing of information to specifically support Māori student outcomes and Ka Hikitia.42 There is evidence of some sharing of information through the online postings and discussions. We encourage schools to use this website for discussion and as a portal for cross-agency information and resources to support Māori student outcomes.

The Virtual Learning Network service provided by the Ministry also facilitates finding, sharing, and using evidence. There is a specific discussion entitled "Māori enjoying educational success as Māori". The network is promoted by the Ministry as an adjunct to the Research and Education Advanced Network New Zealand, with additional features and benefits. The new "Network for Learning" broadband initiative may provide such a service, but the content has not yet been finalised.43

As indicators of better collaboration and sharing of ideas, we would expect to see:

  • improved use of the Te Mang roa and the Virtual Learning Network (or whatever technology may replace the network); and
  • the Ministry and the school sector working together to ensure that the online resources are appealing and relevant to New Zealand schools.

More direct communicating with and input from iwi and whānau

Crown-iwi partnerships provide a good basis for increasing and improved engagement between iwi, schools, and education agencies.

The Ministry has made good progress with developing partnerships (whakapūmautia) with iwi groups. These Crown-iwi partnerships provide an important opportunity to support iwi to prepare education plans that reflect iwi aspirations and goals, and to build their capacity and the capacity of education providers to achieve them.

With the introduction of the Ministry's guidelines for conducting education relationships with iwi, Whakapūmautia, Papakōwhaitia, Tau Ana (Grasp, Embrace, Realise), we expect to see a deepening level of productive engagement between iwi, schools, and education agencies. Better engagement should lead to increased collaboration focused on collective efforts to improve education outcomes for Māori students.

Analysing performance information better

Performance information at every level in the education sector needs to be used well to make changes to benefit Māori educational success.

An effective education system will learn from performance and use that information to make changes. We expect to see an education system that collects, analyses, and shares data and information to increase Māori student success. Most of all, we expect to see data and information used regularly to change teaching practices.

We expect those who put into effect any strategy to use performance data to make decisions and guide change, as long as the data is reliable and fit for the purpose intended. It is encouraging that this message was included in Ka Hikitia and communicated to educators.

The evidence we collected shows that educators are using some performance information. Using performance information is part of other nationwide strategies, such as National Standards, that have been put into effect at the same time as Ka Hikitia. Our survey evidence indicates that Ka Hikitia has been an important influence as well.

Overall, schools have increased their use of performance information. However, further improvement is needed. Many schools, once they have analysed their data, do not use it to change their practices. In mathematics, for example, ERO estimates that only 9% of schools are effective at collecting, analysing, and using information, 57% are partially effective, and 31% are minimally effective. In our view, performance information extends beyond achievement data to include information about participation and completion.

Improving the quality of data

Useful data is available but not readily accessible and it could be used better.

The education sector: No actions associated with Ka Hikitia are aimed at improving data quality or data use by agencies. We would like to see the Ministry co-ordinate a plan that shows how each of all the education agencies can improve the quality and provision of data to support each other and schools and other education providers to achieve the goals of Ka Hikitia.44 This is not the same as monitoring the effect of Ka Hikitia. However, it is about providing information that is related to achieving the goals of Ka Hikitia. For example, there is the potential for ERO to provide data about the effect of the Paetawhiti reviews on Māori students' achievement.

The Ministry and education agencies: We would like to see more timely data available from the Ministry about Māori students' participation, engagement, and achievement. We understand that schools have been reducing the error rates in data returns and that more returns are on time. We would like to see more longitudinal data analysis available to the education sector so that it can understand the progress of Māori students. Sometimes, cross-sectional or snap-shot views can be misleading.

Ministry: We support the Ministry's using performance monitoring and publicly showing the progress of Ka Hikitia. We also support the Ministry's using evaluation to work out whether the education system's performance had improved after putting Ka Hikitia into effect. Evaluations and other types of research can provide a variety of quantitative and qualitative performance data that is as important as statistical reporting. We also acknowledge the ongoing development and use of the MGF in the evaluation. This use helps to demonstrate the confidence the Ministry has in the MGF and how to apply it. However, the MGF should have been completed and available to other agencies and schools much sooner, so they could make comparable assessments of how far Ka Hikitia had progressed.

Education sector and iwi/whānau: Much publicly available performance information is available from the Ministry, ERO, and NZQA. Some data has been provided to the Government's open data portal.45 Some links from the portal go to another referral page and searching must start again. We would like to see an index of the available performance information for Māori students from all education agencies that would show whānau and iwi what is available and the relationship between data sets.

Schools: An action in Ka Hikitia is related to providing schools with resources to increase their capability to analyse and use student attendance data to strengthen student engagement practices. The Ministry certifies student management systems that interface correctly with the Ministry's National Student Index and the Electronic Single Data Return systems and that meet other technical requirements.

However, the Ministry considers that assessing usability and performance is outside the scope of the certification programme. We encourage the Ministry and ERO to find ways to evaluate the performance of certified student management systems so that schools can procure systems that support appropriate data analysis that can lead to more successful outcomes for Māori students.

Māori students are an important source of information.

Students: Māori students and their educational success are the focus of Ka Hikitia. As we heard in many of our interviews with students, success for many Māori students rests on the strength of the integration of their identity, language, and culture in their learning context. Students related, on the whole, positive experiences of this, but the data shows that not enough Māori students are sharing in this experience. It is important that the authentic voices of Māori students continue to be heard. In our view, the Ministry, schools, and other education agencies should gather this important source of information in a shared, systemic way, with regard to respect and care for the students, to inform system practices and improvement.

Recommendation 5
We recommend that all public entities involved in the delivery of education engage and consult Māori students, in ways that are respectful and safe for the students, to ensure that the experiences and opinions of Māori students contribute to improving the education they receive.

41: Ministry of Education, Statement of Intent 2012-2017, available at

42: The Te Mang roa website is available at

43: See the "Education initiatives" section of the Ministry's website,

44: This includes research institutions and other entities providing professional learning and development, Māori education organisations providing services to schools, and other government sector agencies offering education programmes in schools.

45: The data portal is available at

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