Research finds Māori Youth under-qualified and under-paid: 'We have to keep kids at school' - Kelvin Davis

Minister for Māori Education Kelvin Davis says he isn't surprised by the findings of a new study that show Māori students who leave high school and enrol for a level three course at a private tertiary establishment end up worse off than kids who stay in school.

"We know we have to keep kids at school as long as possible so they can get the best qualifications possible" 

The study He Awa Ara Rau tracked 76 thousand young Māori between 15 and 25 years of age. It found that rather than improving their future earnings, low level courses are leaving Māori students in debt and with poor economic outcomes.

The research project is a collaboration between BERL, Waikato- Tainui, The Southern Initiative and Tokona te Raki: Māori Futures Collective of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu.

It has sparked calls for the Government to defund low-level private tertiary establishment certificates and to focus instead on keeping kids in school.

In an interview with The Hui Davis said while he agrees it's best if youth remained in school, it's important to understand why rangatahi choose to leave and enrol in low-level qualifications.

"We've got to look at why they actually end up there in the first place and there are systemic things. It's not just the education system we need to look - at it's the social system." 

Watch the full interview.