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Foundation learning funding announcement

Monday, 11 December 2006

MIT welcomes foundation learning funding announcement

Manukau Institute of Technology has welcomed the Tertiary Education Commission’s (TEC) announcement around additional funding for foundation learning projects in 2007.

The TEC has awarded almost $16 million to more than 90 foundation learning providers, including MIT, through the 2007 round of Foundation Learning Pool funding.

The additional funding MIT will receive next year will enable it to expand its community-based literacy programmes, provide additional support for students on mainstream programmes and begin several new initiatives, says head of MIT’s Department of Further Education, Margaret James.

“The funding announced for 2007 is fantastic news for us and, in fact, for everyone in the educational sector. MIT will now be able to not only maintain, but expand our existing foundation learning programmes,” says Margaret, whose department includes MIT’s School of Foundation Studies, School of English and Employment Programmes.

“The fact the TEC has committed this funding to foundation learning highlights how important these programmes are to our communities. With these funds we can provide foundation education to both our existing and new migrant communities who, in turn, will pass on their skills and knowledge to their whanau and families.”

Counties Manukau has one of the lowest levels of adult literacy rates in New Zealand, and this can only be curbed through government support, says Margaret. “The programmes supported by TEC funding ensure that people are equipped with the right tools and support to improve their numeracy and literacy skills.”

One of the new initiatives MIT has received funding for in 2007 is a numeracy training programme that will be offered as a night class twice a week. “We are very pleased at being able to provide a dedicated numeracy training programme, which will greatly boost overall skills in our communities,” says Margaret.

Another new programme is a full-time ESOL (English for Speaker of Other Languages) Literacy class that will enable students with high ESOL literacy needs to be taught in a small class environment.

Both these courses will be free to eligible students.

In addition, the Department of Further Education will now offer its community-based Parents’ and Whanau Literacy course twice a year. The course was launched in July and was provided at Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate in Otara and the Mangere East Community Learning Centre.

It equips participants with the literacy and numeracy skills and learning strategies to support the education of children in their care. “This course proved very popular and we can now double the intake next year,” says Margaret.

Also funded for the full year in 2007 will be the Foundation Skills Programme offered to people on domestic purposes or sickness benefits to enable them to increase their literacy and numeracy skills in order to gain employment.

Another successful programme the school will expand next year is its Team Teaching initiative in which literacy training is delivered alongside the vocational training offered by other MIT departments.

“We are rolling this programme out to more departments next year, so it will have far greater reach,” says Margaret.

All sections in the department have also received increased funding for one-to-one assistance for the students on their mainstream programmes.

“This funding enables students to receive ‘just in time’ help with the literacy demands of the programmes they are enrolled on and significantly increases their chances of completing their programme successfully,” says Margaret.

The Foundation Learning Pool directly targets courses for people with low literacy, numeracy and language skills who are currently not accessing formal learning programmes.

ENDS

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