Tertiary education failing to meet needs of Māori staff and students

Posted By TEU on Mar 1, 2017 | 3 comments

Tertiary Update Vol 20 No 7

The tertiary education sector is failing to meet the needs of Māori staff and students, according to research carried out by the Tertiary Education Union.

Results from the TEU’s forthcoming state of the sector survey point to a worsening learning environment and a decline in the provision of support services for Māori students and communities.

There is also a strong sense among Māori staff that the tertiary education sector is failing to contribute positively to their well-being.

Respondents to the survey were asked to consider how the tertiary education sector has changed over the last 10 years.

The findings will be discussed by Māori members of the TEU at their annual Hui-ā-Motu in Hamilton this weekend.

More than half of Māori staff respondents said that over the last 10 years they had noticed a decline in the provision of support services to communities that are not close to campuses.

Most of these Māori staff work in wānanga and regional polytechnics, where support services are particularly vital for overcoming some of the barriers that exist between Māori students and a successful, rewarding experience in tertiary education.

Last year the TEU revealed that one of the consequences of whitestreaming was the loss of specialist study support services for Māori students.

This is reinforced by the survey findings which suggest the tertiary education sector has been getting harder not easier for Māori students to access, participate and successfully complete, contrary to government targets.

Staff well-being has also declined, with three quarters of Māori respondents saying they felt less supported in the workplace than 10 years ago.

“Māori staff working in the sector clearly feel that things are getting worse for themselves and their Māori students. The loss of support services and an inadequate learning environment undermine our commitment to ensuring Māori students have access to the best possible education,” Sandra Grey, TEU national president, said.

For Māori students that do enter into tertiary education, staff say the learning environment is getting worse. The survey findings also reveal that more than half of Māori respondents feel under greater pressure to pass students.

Failing to provide effective learning environments that are supportive, welcoming and culturally relevant risks undermining Māori students ability to achieve and adds to the sense that the tertiary education system is not set up to meet their needs.

“A supportive learning environment and establishing whanaungatanga is an important part of a ensuring a sense of belonging in tertiary education.

“Taking into account wider trends in the sector, these findings reinforce what we’ve known for many years: that funding cuts and poorly thought through targets have a negative impact on course and service provision for Māori students.

“Respondents to the survey clearly feel that the current government is presiding over a system that is undermining kaupapa Māori teaching and research, support service, course content and programmes. I look forward to discussing with our members how we address that,” Grey added.

The full results of the TEU’s state of the sector survey will be published by the end of March.

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. WITT and Unitec downgrades indicative of a system under strain
  2. New TEU women in science network
  3. Mothers earn 17 percent less than fathers
  4. Guest post: Science needs the humanities
  5. Intueri loses Oz registration

Other news

Ara Institute of Canterbury has received the best possible outcome from NZQA’s External Evaluation and Review. Congratulations to all staff for the hard work that’s gone into achieving that result – NZQA

Paul Goldsmith, Minister for Tertiary Education, and Louise Upston, Associate Minister for Education, have launched a new Employability Skills Framework – Beehive

Paul Goldsmith also published the 2017 Occupation Outlook, covering 108 occupations – Voxy

Staff and students at Telford said they determined to carry on as normal while they wait for Lincoln University and Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre to agree a transition deal – Otago Daily Times

The University of Auckland Business School has received a gift of $2.6 million from Sir Owen Glenn to support innovation and entrepreneurship initiatives at the School – NZ Herald

Otago Polytechnic has announced a new Bachelor of Architectural Studies – Scoop

Skills Active has launched new Career Pathway Maps for aspiring sport and recreation professionals – Skills Active

MITO has launched new training programmes for collision repair and automotive refinishing – MITO

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