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Education Powerhouse proposal for Manukau

Education Powerhouse proposal for Manukau

The City of Manukau Education Trust (COMET) has recommended the creation of an Education Services Hub in the city centre in its recently-released report to Manukau City Council. COMET’s recommendation is part of a report released last week, Working Together: Mahi Tahi Tatou, which makes a number of recommendations to Manukau City Council about the development of a Manukau Education Strategy.

COMET Chief Executive, Bernardine Vester, describes the council’s vision for revitalisation of the Manukau City Centre as “an outstanding opportunity to incorporate a highly innovative, 21st Century approach to education services that could be transformational for the city.”

Manukau City Council already has a plan that provides for the establishment of a tertiary centre close to the proposed Rail Link and Rail Station, either south of the new SH20 extension, or as part of Hayman Park. Bernardine Vester says that this land would be an ideal place to co-locate a range of education services that support the city.

“Clustering businesses together has already been proven as a successful economic development strategy. Organisations that are close together tend to have closer relationships, operate with better information, have powerful incentives to perform better, benefit from the cross-fertilisation of ideas and relationships, and are more likely to operate collaboratively to build expertise in the labour market. These advantages are difficult to get when they are located apart.”

COMET suggests that alongside the redevelopment of library and leisure services in the city centre area, co-located facilities could be leased to create both a tertiary campus on the city centre site and an “education powerhouse” in the area. By marketing the area as a Centre of Education Excellence, the area has the potential to raise the quality of education services in the city. The area would attract students, educators, and experts, and would create new incentives for people to bring their expertise into Manukau schools, early childhood centres, and learning facilities.

The Schooling Improvement Project Office of the Ministry of Education could be co-located alongside school-owned and managed cluster services such as the Otara Boards Forum and the AIMHI schools, education action research teams that operate in Manukau, special education services, a teacher resource centre, agencies such as the Tertiary Education Commission and Careers Services, COMET, and programme teams working with 15 – 19 year olds, with Pasifika early childhood education centres or Kohanga Reo, for example.

Bernardine Vester says that the Education Services Hub would need to be part of the Long Term Council Community Plan, and would not affect the AUT’s recent decision to purchase land for a tertiary campus on the other side of the city centre area. “This proposal would enhance the city’s development as the hub of the Pacific, and the more skilled the people are here, the stronger our economic performance,” she adds.

Manukau City Council has yet to debate the recommendations in the report.


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