Performing for credits
Pacific Island students will be able to make a song and dance of their studies this year.
Students can sit two Pacific indigenous knowledge standards that count towards National Certificate of Educational Achievement levels 1, 2 and 3, and tertiary qualifications.
Credits could be scored for good performances at concerts.
The unit standards cover Pacific culture and aim to encourage Pacific Islanders to ‘‘engage with and affirm their own traditions and values’’, the New Zealand Qualifications Authority magazine said.
The panel involved in the development of the standards considered individual or group performance to be integral to pasifika culture, National Qualifications services qualifications development facilitator Gretchen Ivess said.
‘‘It is anticipated that these standards will be widely used to assess students’ ability to present their work through an appropriate pasifika performance context such as the Polynesian Festival,’’ Ms Ivess said.
Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs chief executive Dr Colin Tukuitonga said the ministry didn’t have any input into the new unit standards but they were ‘‘potentially highly beneficial’’.
‘‘There’s reasonable evidence from international literature that where someone is confident in their identity and particularly if they are bilingual, regardless of whether it’s English and Japanese . . . they do better generally,’’ Dr Tukuitonga said. ‘‘I think it’s easy to take the view, ‘What’s all this performance got to do with academic achievement?’
‘‘I think if it’s just one way of getting Pacific students to get more credits then that’s. . . a very sad approach because it’s not going to help anyone. ‘‘It’s potentially highly beneficial but if it’s done as a genuine additional opportunity to develop the person as of a wider process, then I would certainly agree with it.
‘‘But we do need to make sure that it’s balanced with maths and science and whatever else the students need.’’ Dr Tukuitonga said.
To gain three credits at level three, Pacific indigenous knowledge unit students must present information on an aspect of Pacific culture that conveys key information, follows conventions, is understandable and appropriate to the intended audience and reflects appropriate cultural values.
The authority describes pasifika students as New Zealanders who identify with, or feel they belong to, one or more Pacific Island ethnicities.
But it said any student, regardless of ethnicity, could sit the standards.
DANCE STUDIES: Pacific Island dancing will now earn some students exam points.