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A Wananga Is Not A University

A Wananga Is Not A University

Progressive Coalition MP Matt Robson has compounded the confusion surrounding the nature and definition of tertiary education institutions in New Zealand, according to the NZ Vice-Chancellors’ Committee.

The NZVCC, which represents the country’s eight universities, today rebutted Mr Robson’s assertion that Te Wananga o Aotearoa was in fact the University of New Zealand.

“There are five types of tertiary education institution recognized in the Education Act – universities, polytechnics, colleges of education, wananga and specialist colleges. A wananga is just that, not a university, polytechnic, college of education or specialist college,” NZVCC Executive Director Lindsay Taiaroa says.

“Te Wananga o Aotearoa is certainly not to be confused with the University of New Zealand which was dissolved in 1961. Te Wananga o Aotearoa concentrates its teaching efforts at lower levels of the National Qualifications Framework whereas universities, as everybody except Matt Robson knows, teach mainly at degree level.”

The issue stems from media reports that Te Wananga o Aotearoa is working with the Cuban government to offer a Cuban-developed distance learning literacy programme in this country. That development has drawn criticism from ACT MP Rodney Hide which Mr Robson responded to by defending Te Wananga o Aotearoa’s move, describing its choice of a UNICEF awarding winning programme to combat illiteracy among Maori as “sensible”. It was in this context that Mr Robson erroneously referred to Te Wananaga o Aotearoa as the University of New Zealand.

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