Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search

 


Māori Pay A High Price For Flawed Tertiary Policies

Māori Pay A High Price For Flawed Tertiary Education Policies.

19 August 2014

I’m excited about growing up in a post-settlement era where Te Tiriti o Waitangi respects the mana and tino rangatiratanga of our people as genuine and authentic treaty partners. But it doesn’t mean, by any stretch of the imagination, that things are now equal.

As everyone knows, Māori occupy a low socioeconomic position in society, which contradicts Article Three of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. There are further impacts. Because Māori are less likely to have the savings necessary to pay for the up-front cost of education, they are more likely to take out a student loan to pay for their studies. So while loans enable access, they mean that Māori are more likely to have debt. The average student loan debt makes someone $150,000 poorer when they retire than someone who didn’t have to borrow, as savings, and owning a house, get deferred in order to meet the loan repayments.

Māori are also underrepresented in tertiary education, especially at higher levels, primarily because the cycle of educational poverty means that Māori are more likely to be their first in family to enter higher learning. Education is an important tool for social mobility, it allows our people to free themselves from a poverty-cycle where they are born into poverty, aren’t highly educated, grow up in financial hardship and have children who are destined to have the same fate. While one in three young New Zealanders are in tertiary study, for Māori this is one in five. Half of those are in lower level qualifications, compared with only around a quarter of non-Māori.

A problem Māori face is the “casual racism” of low expectations. They are often poorly-prepared and advised at secondary school by their teachers and career advisors who, instead of supporting rangatahi aspiring to do degree-level study, set the target far lower. Many of our young people are talented and capable but when they indicate that they are interested in sports, they are encouraged towards a qualification that will result in them becoming a gym instructor instead of a physiotherapist, or encouraged to become a builder instead of a civil engineer. This results in many Māori being employed in low paid work with high levels of student debt. We know that the economy poorly remunerates such qualifications, and it is more likely for Māori to graduate with high debt and poor employment outcomes.

The first in family reality of many Māori in tertiary education is that they enter an alien environment and are unable to call on their whanau and community for empathy and support. The consequence of this is that Māori are starting a tertiary qualification with little knowledge of what their strengths are and what they want to achieve, and because of this, they start on the back foot and may take longer to achieve success. This is why Māori take longer on average to complete their tertiary qualification. Recently, the National-led Government restricted student allowances to 200 weeks over a lifetime, disproportionately affecting Māori.

If someone struggled to get university entrance and needed a few additional competencies (for example, literacy and numeracy), this “bridging” or “staircasing” course would cut into the total amount of support available. Some people who need extra help to get in the door and find their feet may cap out at the front end and lose their allowance 80 per cent of the way through their degree. This undermines the fundamental belief that public education should be open and accessible and that lifelong learning is desirable.

Addressing these inequalities by getting rid of fees and debt, providing financial support for as long as people need it and offering targeted pastoral and academic support that is based on individual circumstances is important for Māori. But what’s good for Māori is also good for the rest of Aotearoa. If we are guided by the principles of whakanui (respect), toi te mana (empowerment), nga kawenga (responsibility) and ahu kāwanatanga (partnership), we can work to create meaningful and necessary changes to the current education system to benefit all people.

Te piko o te māhuri, tērā te tupu o terāka – The way in which the young sapling is nurtured determines how the tree grows.

Ngā mihi,
Daniel Haines

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 
Culture: Rare Hundertwasser Conservation Posters Found After 40 Years

When Jan and Arnold Heine put a roll of conservation posters into storage in 1974 they had no idea that 42 years later they would be collectors items. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: The Stolen Island: Searching for ‘Ata by Scott Hamilton

Reviewed by Michael Horowitz
Located even further south than temperate Noumea, Tonga’s tiny island of ‘Ata might have become the jewel of the kingdom’s burgeoning tourist industry. Imagine a Tongan resort that would not only be mild in winter, but pleasant in summer. More>>

Reviewed by Michael Horowitz
Located even further south than temperate Noumea, Tonga’s tiny island of ‘Ata might have become the jewel of the kingdom’s burgeoning tourist industry. Imagine a Tongan resort that would not only be mild in winter, but pleasant in summer. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: No Pretence. No Bullshit. Fine Poem.

John Dickson doesn’t publish much; never has. Indeed, this new collection is his first such in 18 years. As he wryly and dryly states,

I’ve published two slim volumes, and spent all
My time working on the next.
(from Wasp p.67) More>>

Scoop Review of Books: Extraordinary Anywhere: Essays On Place From Aotearoa NZ

The New Zealand landscape undoubtedly is very beautiful, but so is the British one, and my attachment to this country is much more about some particular places, and the memories and emotions that in them combine, than it is about the landscape as a whole. More>>

Canonisation Fodder: Suzanne Aubert Declared ‘Venerable’

Suzanne Aubert, the founder of the Sisters of Compassion New Zealand’s home grown order of Sisters, has been declared ‘venerable’, a major milestone on the path to sainthood in the Catholic Church. More>>

“I Have Not Performed Well Enough”: Ernie Merrick Leaving Wellington Phoenix

Ernie Merrick has stepped down from his position as Wellington Phoenix FC Head Coach. The club would like to thank Ernie for his contribution to Wellington Phoenix and wish him all the best in his future endeavours. More>>

Ray Columbus: NZ Music Icon Passes Away

60s New Zealand music Icon Ray Columbus has passed away peacefully at his home north of Auckland... Ray Columbus enjoyed more than three decades at the top of NZ entertainment as a singer, songwriter, bandleader, music manager and TV star. More>>

Review: Bernard Herrmann's Scores For 'Vertigo' & 'Psycho'

Howard Davis: The NZSO's adventurousness was richly-rewarded, as the deeply appreciative Wellington audience was given the opportunity not only to see a couple of Alfred Hitchcock's greatest films, but also to hear fine renditions of two of Bernard Herrmann's most accomplished film scores. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Education
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news