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‘European learners are the main recipients of fees-free’ is a headline the Minister of Education should be ashamed of, National’s Māori Education spokesperson Jo Hayes says.

“Papers released today by Minister Chris Hipkins show that a lower proportion of Māori are accessing fees-free to take up tertiary study. Māori make up 21 per cent of enrolments but only 17 per cent of fees-free recipients.

“When combined with a reduction in the overall number of students studying, including a large 1,188 drop at Wānanga compared with this time last year, this policy is shown to be a complete failure for Māori.

“The policy has also done nothing for the number of Māori in industry training, where fees-free enrolments remain similar to all Māori enrolments.

“UNICEF recently highlighted how our education system does not serve Māori well, and this Government is only furthering that inequality with its poorly targeted fees-free policy, closure of partnership schools and freezing of funding for Whānau Ora and Māori Development.

“Chris Hipkins needs to admit this flagship policy is a flop for Māori, and redirect the billions of dollars to where it’s actually needed.”

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