TEU members at MIT and nationally are condemning the cuts proposed for tertiary education provision in South Auckland. Cuts they say will harm Māori, Pasifika and low-income learners.

MIT is proposing to cut courses in Creative Arts, Horticulture, and Tourism, with approximately15 jobs lost.

The proposed cuts affect areas with high numbers of Māori and Pasifika students.

TEU Māori Vice-President Hūhana Wātene, on behalf of the union’s national Māori committee Te Toi Ahurangi, has written to the Minister of Education noting that:  “Once again, the most vulnerable learners in our society are being disadvantaged by an education system that has traditionally failed them at all levels.”

Wātene says that the words of the Minister of Education and the aspirations in the new Tertiary Education Strategy of boosting achievement of Māori and Pasifika are ringing a little hollow for staff in the polytechnic sector right now, as ever deeper cuts are made to what is taught and where.

“If Māori learners are really a priority of this government, they’ve got to step in to protect Māori and Pasifika positions and end the relentless job cuts in the polytechnic sector.”

In the letter Te Toi Ahurangi and MIT members argue that a culturally responsive tertiary education system is reliant on having a broad range of courses, including Māori tourism courses and creative arts courses which helps build the cultural identity and confidence of learners.

“Members of Te Toi Ahurangi and MIT want the future of vocational education to be bright for Māori and all learners. That means ensuring there are enough courses, for the proposed NZ Institute of Skills and Technology to meet the needs of learners, whānau, hapū, iwi, communities, and industries,” says Wātene.