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July 13, 2009 | by  | in News |
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Open access no substitute for processes –Ngai Tauira

Kia ora, processes, kia ora

Victoria University’s Maori Students’ Association Ngai Tauira has questioned remarks made by Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples on offering Maori universal entry to New Zealand’s universities.

Ngai Tauira’s President Victor Manawatu said that the association agreed with Sharples on assisting Maori with tertiary study, but questioned the practicality of universal access.

He said that while it was important that Maori are given every opportunity to participate in higher learning, it was unreasonable to bring students into the university environment without providing the tools to succeed.

Manawatu explained the process by which many Maori students progress through tertiary education, starting at certificate and diploma level, and then moving onto a degree, “The most practical way for Maori to achieve through tertiary education,” Manawatu said.

Manawatu believes that the underlying currents causing Maori to fail flow through the entire education system and not tertiary education on its own.

Dr Sharples drew heavy criticism in June for suggesting all Maori should have universal entry to university education, regardless of their academic credentials.

Many commentators felt the Minister of Maori Affairs’ views were short sighted and ignored some fundamental truths about Maori’s place in the education system.

Sharples responded to criticism in parliament by saying open access enhanced opportunities for Maori to embrace culture, and called on universities to interweave kaupapa Maori into European academic traditions.

He also laid a challenge to universities to meet the educational needs of Maori halfway by stepping outside conventional thinking and embrace new approaches.

The comments sparked debate about how best to cater to the higher education needs of Maori.

Tertiary Education Union President Tom Ryan agreed that creative solutions needed to be found to increase levels of access for Maori, but noted that funding was also important.

Citing the National-led Government’s decision not to increase tertiary funding, Dr Ryan said this hindered institutions’ ability to assist Maori.

“Many kaupapa Maori and other Maori-focused programmes have been put under pressure in recent years, and we are concerned that now this will get worse,” Ryan said.

Research has indicated that Maori generally enrol in a Te Reo course before venturing into other academic disciplines, with over two-thirds of those enrolled aged 25 and older.

Over 80% of Maori are studying in institutes of technology and polytechnics, with many involved in the Staircasing and Pathways program.

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Comments (1)

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  1. courtney loveday says:

    what the heck

    i’m maori, 14 years old and im appalled
    maoris should raise their standards and be able to actually make the cut to be able to get into university at the least

    this is justsaying that all (but 7/8%) of maori are quiters

    which basically is saying that we’re a dumb ethnicity

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