Can the Māori Party’s kawanatanga policy influence tertiary ed?

Posted By TEU on Dec 1, 2011 |


Tertiary Update Vol 14 No 45

If the Māori Party chooses to focus on tertiary education in its negotiations it could have a significant impact for the sector over the next three years says the TEU Tumu Arataki, Cheri Waititi.

While the party did not publish a specific tertiary education policy before the election, two of its three caucus members, Dr Pita Sharples and Te Ururoa Flavell, have been very involved in tertiary education prior to their election as politicians and have continued to advocate for education as part of their portfolio responsibilities.

The party’s kāwanatanga policy proposes making education more accessible for all by introducing a fee reduction policy to reduce fees to a nominal level over time. It would also increase access to student allowances, by reintroducing a universal student allowance – which will be set at the level of the unemployment benefit.

Ms Waititi says this means “working with our people in our tertiary institutions about how those in the sector can push to have these policies implemented.”

“This is all about making sure tertiary education is accessible to everyone in our society, not just those who can pay. The sector has experienced sustained underfunding over a long period of time, which has resulted in course cuts and restrictions on entry for some programmes. The government currently does not have a clear vision for how it will ensure that Māori are able to participate in tertiary education in the same way as other citizens.”

The Māori Party would delay the requirement to repay student loan debt. It would advocate for increased Māori representation on tertiary governance bodies, including mana whenua and Māori student representation. It would also link funding to Māori course and qualification completion, and legislate to require the Tertiary Education Commission, to have regard for Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

The party wants to increase Māori trade training, cadetships and apprenticeships across growth areas, to reinstate the Training Incentive Allowance, and to promote collaborative arrangements between WINZ, iwi and education providers for training opportunities.

The Maori Party’s policy to make Te reo Māori compulsorily available in schools and compulsory Treaty education should have ‘flow-on’ effects for tertiary education providers as well.

Ms Waititi says if the Māori Party wants to leave a legacy it should consider doing so in tertiary education. “We teach the teachers…ECE through to tertiary.”

“We, as educationalists, need to build a relationship with Māori Party MPs and they with us, so they can influence tertiary education policy over the next three years in ways that supports high quality public education for all Māori students.”

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. McDonalds pressure needed to end meat-works lockout
  2. Jobs go at Canterbury Uni
  3. Cuts and accountability no longer saving money
  4. Tax avoidance by multinationals: this shameful game must stop

Other news

Excellence in Research for Australia (a research management initiative of the Australian government) has a number of limitations: inputs are counted as outputs, time is wasted, disciplinary research is favoured and public engagement is discouraged. Most importantly, by focusing on measurement and emphasising competition, ERA may actually undermine the cooperation and intrinsic motivation that underpin research performance – Brian Martin in the Australian Universities Review, Volume 53, Number 2

The University of Otago has forecast it will struggle to meet a minimum requirement for its operating surplus target in 2012, as set by the Tertiary Education Commission. The TEC asks for a 3 percent return on revenue, but a combination of increasing costs and the poor likelihood of any significant increase in Government investment for the tertiary sector has made it difficult to achieve such a surplus, university financial services director Grant McKenzie says – Otago Daily Times

At universities here in Aotearoa New Zealand there are inklings that a new type of protest movement may be emerging. Closely linked to the Occupy movement that began on New York’s Wall Street and quickly spread around the world, there is an emergent tertiary-education-focused protest movement – Dr Sandra Grey in NTEU’s Advocate

Protests at the University of Sydney followed an announcement last week by vice-chancellor Michael Spence that around 150 academics “not pulling their weight” will go, with 190 general staff positions to be cut according to no specified criteria – The Australian

Authorised by Sharn Riggs, Tertiary Education Union, 8th Floor, Education House 178-182 Willis St, Wellington 6011.

TEU Tertiary Update is published weekly on Thursdays and distributed freely to members of the Tertiary Education Union and others. You can subscribe to Tertiary Update by email or feed reader. Back issues are available on the TEU website. Direct inquiries should be made to Stephen Day.

 

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