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More government cuts for Mâori Tertiary Education

More government cuts for Mâori Tertiary Education

Mâori tertiary students around the country are outraged by government plans to cut funding to certificate and diploma level courses. The cuts were announced yesterday as part of the government review on the quality of tertiary education provision, and come hard on the heels of massive cuts to SSG funding.

“The government takes credit for the increase in Mâori participation at tertiary level, and then attacks the very courses and institutions that are behind that increase” said Veronica Tawhai, Kaituhono of Te Mana Âkonga. “These changes are a major backward step for Mâori tertiary education”.

“We thought the worst had come with slashing the majority of SSG Mâori funding for student support, but we were wrong. When will the government feel they’ve purged themselves of Brash’s criticisms in Orewa last year? When and where will it stop?”.

Between 2000 and 2004, community education offered by institutions such as wânanga and polytechnics increased by a massive 546%. Government is justifying this round of funding cuts on the need of institutions to conform to quality standards.

“All of these courses have previously been approved by the relevant government quality agencies, so cutting funding after the fact seems to be laying the blame, and the punishment, in the wrong place”.

“More than 80% of Mâori students start their studies at certificate and diploma level, and then staircase, often to higher level courses, as they become familiar with tertiary study. These cuts will have a rapid and devastating impact on Maori enrolments across the board. They are hugely punitive and short-sighted” said Miss Tawhai.

Government will cut what they consider are low quality and relevance courses.

“Te Mana Âkonga will be watching very closely for what government considers ‘quality’ and ‘relevance’. The track record to date suggests that Mâori focused courses will be singled out for elimination” concluded Miss Tawhai.


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