A record number of Pacific students have been awarded scholarships to pursue careers and opportunities in STEAM (Science, Technology, Education, Arts, Mathematics) subjects, Minister for Pacific Peoples, Barbara Edmonds said today.
“STEAM subjects are our future and by supporting the next generation to succeed in them, we are ensuring whole Pacific communities are enabled and empowered to thrive,” Minister Edmonds said.
“Through the Toloa initiative, we are awarding 300 secondary and tertiary scholarships to Pacific students, recognising their academic excellence and aspirations for the future.
“This is one of the Ministry for Pacific Peoples’ most inclusive and diverse initiatives. Over the past three years, we have awarded 642 scholarships to Pacific students with over half of these going to young women.”
Minister Edmonds said the strength of Toloa continued to be seen in Aotearoa’s alumni, who “have been supported to fully embrace their studies without the burden of balancing funds for their education”.
“In doing so, we have seen them excel in architecture, biomedical science, information technology, psychology, veterinary science and engineering,” she said.
“Collaboration with partners who share our vision to see Pacific people flourish is also allowing us to deliver Toloa more effectively and to expand our reach.
“We have strengthened the initiative with new partnerships in the community, including PB Tech who will provide technology support and devices for the successful students. Recipients will also receive holistic wraparound services with the support of Le Va.”
Last year, the Toloa Secondary Schools Challenge – managed by Young Enterprise Scheme and Pacific provider VAKA – also made its debut. A two-day problem-solving event, it saw Pacific students encouraged to innovate and embrace exploratory learning.
“I want to congratulate our intelligent and resilient 2023 Toloa cohort who are paving the way for many bright Pacific minds to follow.”
“With the programme now in its eighth year, we are continuing to see it get bigger and better and I know this level of success will only continue to grow,” Minister Edmonds said.