Pasifika tertiary education students in 2007

Publication Details

This is edition two in an annual series on Pasifika tertiary education students. There is an associated set of tables available on the Pasifika Tertiary Education Statistics on Education Counts.

This fact sheet includes gender information on Pasifika tertiary education students, the qualifications students are taking, where they are studying, field of study, student allowances and loans and other important characteristics of Pasifika students. Also included is information on Pasifika employees in industry training and some comparisons with international students from the Pacific.

Author(s): Mieke Wensvoort, Tertiary Sector Performance Analysis and Reporting, Ministry of Education

Date Published: April 2009

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Executive Summary

More Pasifika peoples were enrolled in formal tertiary qualifications in 2007 than in 2006. Enrolments were up 8.2 percent in 2007 to a total of 29,300. In terms of the amount of study, as measured in equivalent full-time student units, the latest increase was slightly lower (up by 7.2 percent).

At every qualification level, Pasifika enrolments were higher in 2007 than in 2006. For example, level 4 certificate enrolments rose by 21 percent, honours and postgraduate certificates and diplomas by 11 percent, level 5 to 7 diplomas by 10 percent and bachelors degrees by 7.8 percent. In comparison, total domestic enrolments fell slightly from 2006 to 2007 because the increases at qualification levels 4 and higher were offset by a significant decline in level 1 to 3 certificates. Lower-level certificate enrolments by Pasifika peoples increased by 4.2 percent in 2007 following a significant fall in 2006.

More Pasifika students were enrolled in a masters or doctoral degree in 2007 than in 2006. At masters level the number of students increased by 4.0 percent and the amount of study by 15 percent in terms of equivalent full-time student units. At doctoral level, there were 8.3 percent more students and the amount of study rose by 4.8 percent in terms of equivalent full-time student units.

In 2007, 45 percent of Pasifika students were Samoan, 20 percent Cook Island, 17 percent Tongan, 11 percent Fijian, 7 percent Niuean and 3 percent Tokelauan.

Figure 1: Pasifika in provider-based formal tertiary education compared with total domestic students
Figure 1: Pasifika in provider-based formal tertiary education compared with total domestic students

Twelve percent of Pasifika peoples aged 15 years and over participated in tertiary education in 2007. This compared with a rate of 12.1 percent for European students while the rates for Māori and Asian students were 17.9 percent and 13.9 percent, respectively.

Stronger growth in the number of male students

In 2007, the number of male Pasifika students increased by 10 percent, compared to an increase of 6.9 percent for females. Similarly, in 2005 enrolments by Pasifika males increased by 4.1 percent, compared to 1.0 percent for females. Also, when Pasifika student numbers decreased in 2006 as a result of changes in government policy relating to lower-level tertiary qualifications, the fall in the numbers was stronger for women than for men (down 5.5 percent compared to 2.4 percent).

Nevertheless, in 2007, female students still outnumbered male students – 17,200 compared to 12,100.  This difference was partly due to stronger growth in enrolments by Pasifika women in the early 2000s.

Figure 2:  Annual percentage change in the number of Pasifika enrolments by gender
Figure 1: Pasifika in provider-based formal tertiary education compared with total domestic students

Increasing educational success for young Pasifika

The percentage of Pasifika students aged under 25 years studying at qualification level 4 and above, increased from 58 percent in 2005 to 67 percent in 2007.  Before 2005, the proportion of Pasifika under-25-year-olds studying qualifications at level 4 and above had steadily increased, although the proportion was smaller than for all domestic students. Enrolments by under-25-year-olds at level 4 and above have recently risen more strongly for Pasifika students than for all domestic students. That is, Pasifika enrolments by under-25-year-olds increased by 7.4 percent, on average, over the last five years while for all domestic students, the comparable increase was 3.2 percent.

Figure 3: Proportion of under-25-year-olds enrolled in qualifications at level 4 and above
Figure 3: Proportion of under-25-year-olds enrolled in qualifications at level 4 and above

The proportion of all young domestic students studying qualifications at level 4 and above remained relatively stable from 2000 to 2005. This was at a time when New Zealand's unemployment rate tracked downwards resulting in some young people entering employment rather than study. Then in 2006 and 2007, the proportion of all domestic students aged under 25 years who enrolled in qualifications at level 4 and above, was pushed up by 3 percentage points in each year to 77 percent. This trend may have been influenced by the increases in youth unemployment that became visible in 2006.

A closer look at the participation in non-degree study by Pasifika under-25-year-olds shows that, although the number of these students in lower-level certificates peaked in 2005, as a proportion of the total, lower-level certificate enrolments decreased over the last five years – down by 1.8 percentage points per year on average. Over the same period, the proportion of Pasifika under-25-year-olds in level 4 certificates and level 5 to 7 diplomas increased, on average, by 1.3 percentage points.

Pasifika population becomes younger

Mirroring the Pasifika population as a whole, the Pasifika student population was younger in 2007 than New Zealand's total student population. Forty-five percent of Pasifika students were under 25 years, compared to 39 percent of all domestic students. The situation was reversed for those aged 40 years and over.  Close to one in three in the total student population fell into this age group in 2007, while for Pasifika this was only one in five.

In 2026 projections of the population (Figure 4) the proportion of Pasifika under-25-year-olds is expected to be 53 percent while for the total New Zealand population the expected proportion is 31 percent. As younger students tend to study with the aim of getting a qualification, it is expected that more Pasifika students will gain a qualification.

Figure 4: Projection of the New Zealand Pasifika population in 2026
Figure 4: Projection of the New Zealand Pasifika population in 2026
Note:
  1. Source: Statistics New Zealand, 2006 Census of Population and Dwellings.

Pasifika students and qualification levels

One in four Pasifika students were enrolled at bachelors level in 2007. In terms of the amount of study, almost one-third of study was at bachelors level. Twenty-eight percent of Pasifika women (34 percent in terms of equivalent full-time student units) studied bachelors degrees in 2007 and 22 percent of Pasifika men (30 percent in terms of equivalent full-time student units).

The comparable figures for all domestic students were 29 percent of students and 41 percent in terms of equivalent full-time student units.

In 2007, 3.6 percent of Pasifika students were enrolled in postgraduate-level courses. In the case of all domestic students, 7.5 percent were enrolled at postgraduate level. Thirty-five percent of Pasifika postgraduate students were males.

Compared with total domestic students, there were, proportionately, slightly more Pasifika students studying level 5 to 7 diplomas in 2007. That is, 16 percent of Pasifika students studied at this level compared to 14 percent of all domestic students. A similar proportion of Pasifika males and females studied at diploma level.

Pasifika men and women also participated at a similar rate in level 4 certificate study in 2007 – 17 percent of students and 16 percent of equivalent full-time students.  Proportionately, there were considerably more Pasifika men than women who studied lower-level certificates in 2007. Almost half of all Pasifika men were enrolled at this level although the amount of study, in terms of equivalent full-time student units, was lower at 37 percent.  Compared with all domestic students, there were proportionately also more Pasifika women enrolled in lower-level certificates (44 percent compared with 38 percent).

Figure 5: Equivalent full-time student units in 2007 by qualification level and gender
Figure 5: Equivalent full-time student units in 2007 by qualification level and gender

Student allowances and loans

In 2007, 4,200 students in receipt of student allowances identified themselves with the Pasifika ethnic group – up 4.6 percent on the previous year. This compares to an increase of 5.1 percent in the total number of allowances recipients.

In 2007, there were 12,700 Pasifika students who borrowed through the Student Loan Scheme, up 8.3 percent on 2006.  More students took up loans in 2007 following the introduction of interest-free student loans.  The overall student loan uptake rate – the proportion of students eligible to borrow who actually do so – was 66 percent in 2007. In 2006, the uptake rate was lower at 56 percent.

The number of Pasifika male borrowers increased by 9.2 percent, while for all male borrowers the increase was 4.4 percent.  Pasifika female borrowers increased in number by 7.8 percent, while for all female borrowers the increase was 3.4 percent.

In 2007, 7.3 percent of borrowers and 6.6 percent of students identified themselves as Pasifika.  In comparison, 16 percent of borrowers and 12 percent of students identified themselves as Asian. Forty-three percent of Pasifika students borrowed from the Student Loan Scheme in 2007 – 47 percent of Pasifika women held loans and 39 percent of Pasifika men.  In the case of all domestic students, 42 percent of women and 35 percent of men held loans.

The average amount borrowed by Pasifika in 2007 was $6,713. Compared to 2006, the average amount borrowed in 2007 was 3.5 percent higher, while compared with 2002, it was 6.6 percent higher. Europeans borrowed more in 2007, on average, than Pasifika peoples. This could reflect the predominance of Europeans and Asians in higher-level multi-year qualifications. In 2002, the average amount borrowed by Pasifika was $6,298.

Field of study (based on equivalent full-time student units)

Twenty-eight percent of Pasifika students studied in the field of management and commerce in 2007, compared to 20 percent of all domestic students.  Society and culture and education attracted similar percentages of Pasifika and total domestic students in 2007 – 22 percent and 7 percent, respectively.  Fewer Pasifika students than total domestic students were attracted to the fields of engineering (5.3 percent compared to 7.4 percent), to the natural and physical sciences (3.4 percent compared to 6.1 percent), to health (5.7 percent compared to 8.0 percent), and to agriculture (1.1 percent compared to 4.1 percent).

Figure 6: Pasifika full-time equivalent students in 2007 by field of study
Figure 6: Pasifika full-time equivalent students in 2007 by field of study

Pasifika students and industry training

Fourteen percent of Pasifika employees participated in industry training in 2007, up 2.2 percentage points on 2006. Only Māori had a higher participation rate with 17 percent of Māori employees in industry training.  Overall, 8.6 percent of employees participated in industry training in 2007.

In 2007, 3.5 percent of modern apprentices identified themselves as Pasifika.  As Pasifika were 9.6 percent of the population aged 15 to 24 years in 2007, this group was under-represented in the Modern Apprenticeship Scheme.  Māori were also under-represented among modern apprentices in 2007 as 19 percent were aged 15 to 24 years and 16 percent of apprentices were Māori.

The proportions training at level 1 (16 percent) and at level 4 and above (19 percent) have remained stable over the last five years. In 2007, 31 percent of trainees were in level 3 training, up from 24 percent in 2001. Another 34 percent of industry training by Pasifika peoples was at level 2, down from 40 percent in 2001.

A simple measure of achievement in industry training is to average the number of credits passed across the total number of trainees. For example, Pasifika trainees gained 14 credits, on average, towards national qualifications in 2007, compared to 20 credits per non-Pasifika trainee. Looking at the achievement of national certificates in 2007, one in eight Pasifika trainees achieved a national certificate, compared to one in six for non-Pasifika trainees.

Strong growth in Pasifika Gateway placements

Over the last 5 years, more Pasifika people participated in Gateway – a programme designed to help secondary school students experience tertiary education and achieve outcomes such as gaining employment or achieving credits on the National Qualifications Framework. In 2007, 835 males and females took part in a Gateway assignment, compared to 337 males and females in 2003. In 2007, 434 men and 401 women participated.

In 2007, 632 Pasifika Gateway learners achieved a positive outcome. Twenty-three percent started full-time employment, 1.5 percent started part-time employment, 71 percent continued with further training and the remaining Gateway learners had 'other' outcomes.

Figure 7: Pasifika peoples in Gateway
Figure 7: Pasifika peoples in Gateway
Note:
  1. Source: Tertiary Education Commission (TEC).

Higher earnings for tertiary qualifications

Information from the 2006 census showed that 41 percent of Pasifika employees with a bachelors or higher qualification earned between $40,001 and $70,000 per annum. The comparable proportion for all employees was 35 percent – 6 percentage points lower.  On the other hand, 26 percent of all employees with a bachelors or higher qualification earned more than $70,000 per annum in 2006, while the comparable proportion of Pasifika employees was only 14 percent.

In 2006, 26 percent of Pasifika employees were not formally qualified and 53 percent held a non-degree tertiary qualification. This was reflected in the income distribution of Pasifika employees as 28 percent earned less than $20,000 per year and another 50 percent of Pasifika employees earned between $20,000 and $40,000.

International students from the Pacific

In 2007, there were 1,560 international Pasifika enrolments, down by 3.2 percent from the previous year. From 2005 to 2006, international Pasifika enrolments increased by 19 percent, but before this they had declined for three consecutive years.

Forty-four percent of Pasifika international students and 46 percent of all international students studied full-time for a full-year. In comparison, 36 percent of domestic Pasifika students and 32 percent of all domestic students studied full-time for a full-year in 2006.

In 2007, international Pasifika enrolments at bachelors-level or higher decreased by 12 percent to 771 enrolments. Similarly, total international enrolments declined by 8.6 percent in 2007. In contrast, the number of bachelors-level enrolments increased in 2007 by 7.8 percent for domestic Pasifika students and by 1.5 percent for all domestic students.

Over the last five years, similar proportions of international Pasifika students were women and men. In contrast, almost 6 out of every 10 domestic Pasifika students over this period were women and 56 percent of all domestic students.

Thirty-six percent of international Pasifika students studied in the field of management and commerce in 2007 (based on equivalent full-time student units). The comparable figures were – 28 percent for domestic Pasifika students and 20 percent for all domestic students. Natural and physical sciences attracted a similar percentage of international Pasifika and total domestic students in 2007 (6 percent). Thirteen percent of Pasifika international students studied in the field of society and culture in 2007.

Figure 8: International students from the Pacific by qualification level
Figure 8: International students from the Pacific by qualification level 
About the data used in this fact sheet:

The information presented here refers to New Zealand's domestic Pasifika students enrolled in provider-based formal qualifications of more than one week's duration, unless otherwise stated.

Cook Islanders, Niueans and Tokelauans are grouped with domestic Pasifika students, whether they are resident in New Zealand or not.  Fijian, Tongan and Samoan students who are not New Zealand residents are classed as international students.

In 2000, the data collection was extended to record multiple ethnicities.  Before this, the number of Pasifika students was under-stated.  Only one ethnicity was collected before 2000, while now up to 3 ethnicities are collected and students are counted in each group.

Students may be enrolled with a tertiary education provider at any time during the year.

From 1999 onwards, information for private training establishments has been included in the statistical collections. Private providers are included if they receive government enrol-ments-based funding or if their students were eligible to apply for loans or allowances.

The equivalent full-time student (EFTS) unit referred to in this fact sheet is a measure or 'size' of each student's enrolment. One equivalent full-time student unit represents the load taken by a student enrolled full-time for one year.  Part-time study years are expressed as proportions of an EFTS, for example, 0.75 EFTS.  The equivalent full-time student count is the sum of the EFTS units for a year.

The equivalent full-time student count used in this fact sheet does not equate to the count of student component-funded learners.

Visit the fact sheet on Pasifika Tertiary Education Students by Ethnicity: 2007 on Education Counts.

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