(Picture caption: Young Pacific learners enjoy accessing online STEAM resources at the Tongan Youth Trust hub in Christchurch.)
The Ministry for Pacific Peoples is shifting gear in access to technology and creating opportunities for learners to access online STEAM resources after supporting the establishment of digital hubs across Aotearoa since 2022.
The hubs were created in partnership with 10 Pacific community stakeholders in Palmerston North, Auckland, Wellington, Hamilton, and Christchurch.
Insights from the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted a need for more digital training opportunities to meet the Ministry’s Toloa goal of increasing Pacific participation in STEAM employment and training.
Toloa is one of the Ministry’s flagship programmes, and support Pacific people in STEAM pathways (science, technology, engineering, arts and maths) over a whole-of-life approach.
This runs from early childhood education, primary school, intermediate, secondary, tertiary and through to the workforce.
Toloa’s vision is to make a transformational impact in our communities.
The Ministry is supporting these digital hubs through the provision of digital equipment, including 10 devices at each hub and access to STEAM learning resources through the online learning platform delivered by Education Perfect.
Toloa programme manager Dr Lily Belabun says it is encouraging to see Pacific aiga actively engaging with the Education Perfect resources and using the Toloa Community digital hub spaces.
"These hubs are a space that can bring together Pacific young people, businesses, and the community to access STEAM opportunities in learning, training and development, employment opportunities and information," Dr Belabun says.
"It is a priority of Toloa to create digital and physical shared hub spaces for Pacific communities and businesses to engage with each other, learn and develop their skills in IT.
“An Education Perfect facilitator and trainer held a family session at the To’utupu Tonga Trust hub in Christchurch last week.
"The hub started its engagement with the resources in term three and has 60 learners (years 1 – 13) engaged in accessing these online resources, including learners (years 11 – 13) using university preparation resources."
The following 10 Toloa Community Pacific Digital Hubs were established in 2022: Amanaki STEM Academy and Papaioea Pasifika Community Trust in Palmerston North; Recycleadevice, Tagata Moana Trust, Ekalesia Au Uso Kerisiano Samoa, Tongan Youth Trust and CCC Pho Ako in Christchurch; Efalata Trust in Hamilton and Melana Trust in Wellington.
The current hubs are: Amanaki STEM Academy (Palmerston North); Malamaatu (Hamilton); Papaioea Pasifika Community Trust (Palmerston North); Melana Trust (Wellington and Auckland); To’utupu Tonga Trust (Auckland and Christchurch); and and Kadavu Canterbury/Canterbury Fiji Community (Christchurch).
Toloa continues to support existing and new Toloa Community Physical hubs in delivering dedicated learning support to young Pacific learners in the community for another two years.
Visit the MPP website for more information on the Toloa programme.