New Zealand universities have highlighted the “continued disparity” in higher education entry between Māori and Pasifika students on the one hand, and white and Asian students on the other.
Recent figures showed an increased number of secondary school students achieving National Certificate of Education Achievement Level 2 and overall university entrance standing at 49.2 per cent of students.
But the data also show that just 31.4 per cent of Māori and 30.7 per cent of Pasifika students are achieving university entrance, compared with 57.8 per cent of New Zealanders of European descent and 66.5 per cent of Asian students.
Chris Whelan, executive director of Universities New Zealand, said: “This means that a significant proportion of Māori and Pasifika do not have the opportunity to take on university education, with the significant benefits that it brings to them and their families, and to New Zealand as a whole.
“This continued disparity in achievement rates must be of concern to government, the education sector and to all New Zealanders.
“Universities remain committed to working with the Ministry of Education and schools to support work to help increase numbers of Māori and Pasifika who achieve university entrance.”
But while there was concern over university entry rates, there has been progress in NCEA achievement rates for Māori and Pasifika students.
Hekia Parata, the education minister, said she was "delighted" by the growth in Māori and Pasifika achievement – an average of 26.8 per cent at NCEA Level 2, or 3.35 per cent per year – between 2008 and 2016, the Stuff.co.nz website reported.