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Scholarships – let's get the story right

25 May 2006

Manaaki Tauira Scholarships – let's get the story right

"In the last week there has been much said about the "axing" of the Manaaki Tauira and Mâori / Polynesian Scholarships Funds", Mâori Affairs and Associate Education Minister Parekura Horomia stated today.

"Firstly, the Manaaki Tauira grants are funded from the Ministry of Education, not Te Puni Kokiri. This fact however did not stop members of the Maori Affairs Select Committee from spending over 20 minutes yesterday questioning me about the scholarships.

"Secondly, all students currently receiving these scholarships and who may be due additional funding under their scholarship agreements will have their scholarships honoured.

Manaaki Tauira was designed to increase Mâori student participation. This government has seen huge improvements in the number of Mâori participating in tertiary education.
This Labour led government has also introduced interest free student loans to assist students financially.

"Yes, over the years a number of Maori students have benefited from the fund. But, what's not widely reported is that in recent years fewer than 11% of Maori students actually accessed the fund. All Maori students were eligible, yet last year only about 9,000 of the approximate 88,000 Maori students received the scholarship, which was less than $500 for the year.

"A review conducted in 2004 by the State Services Commission found that these particular government-funded scholarships were not effective in reducing disadvantage for Maori students at the tertiary level. Given these findings the Ministry of Education began to review where these funds could be effectively used.

"Crown regulations say that scholarships must be monitored as to how effective they are in reducing disadvantage. The Manaaki Tauira scholarships, at approximately $500 dollars per student, were ineffective in reducing disadvantage for Maori students.

"We need to have a focus on secondary students – to lift achievement so our tamariki and mokopuna can make better use of tertiary education – to get into the high sciences, to get good results.

"Te Kotahitanga Programme helps better prepare Maori students for tertiary learning while they are still in secondary school. Better-prepared Maori learners mean more successful Maori learners.

"Te Kotahitanga Programme will work to assist nearly 4,000 secondary teachers to better prepare Mâori students to have their best shot at tertiary education..

"I'm all for supporting young Mâori so that they are better prepared when they enter tertiary study" Mr Horomia said.

ENDS

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