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Young Nats back end to tertiary racial bias

Young Nats back end to racial bias in tertiary education

The Young Nationals are today releasing a discussion document which highlights what the group says is 'the urgent need to remove racial bias from New Zealand's tertiary education sector'.

"Preferential access to restricted courses, ambiguous Treaty clauses in policy statements, endless iwi consultation and 'affirmative action' schemes which institutionalise favouritism in staff recruitment deserve to be questioned," says Young Nationals Chairman, Jamie Simpson.

Examples quoted in the paper include Auckland University's preferential entry schemes for Maori, like the 'MOPAS' programme for commerce students, the 'MAPAS' scheme for medicine students, as well as favoured entry for tangata whenua into Law, Education, Engineering, Science, Planning, Political Studies and History.

"The race-based quotas at Victoria University are just as bad. They advertise a 'quota for Maori students applying for first-year programmes in Law', with 'consideration for Maori' in other limited entry programmes.

"The Young Nationals fail to see how lowering entry standards for one ethnic group will be of benefit to anybody - even the favoured group. Our members say that tutoring and academic support should be provided to anyone who needs it.

"It's easy to understand why many non-Maori students are resentful and believe (in most cases, incorrectly) that their Maori classmates have been shown unfair favour," says Mr Simpson.

"Massey, Lincoln, Canterbury and Otago Universities all demand Maori Consultation on ethics issues before research is approved, while Waikato University has places on its ethics committees reserved for Maori members.

"The Auckland College of Education has more questions to answer than most. It has a six page policy which says the institution seeks 'to honour the Treaty of Waitangi by actions in our employment of staff, selection of students and the development and delivery of programmes and services'.

"Expectations are growing among students for a return to common sense, impartiality and fairness in tertiary institutions," Mr Simpson says.

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