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Achieving equity and excellence in education for Māori

Achieving equity and excellence in education for Māori students


Recent Rutherford Discovery Fellowship recipient Dr Melinda Webber will present a talk on raising the success of Māori students in Whangarei on Wednesday as part of the University of Auckland’s International Speaker Series.

Dr Webber (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Kahu, Ngāti Whakaue), is an Associate Professor in the University’s Faculty of Education and Social Work. She specialises in Māori identity and the ways in which race, ethnicity and culture impact on young people.

In her talk, “Achieving equity and excellence in education for Māori students”, she will outline how the success of Māori students at school is a matter of national interest and a number of recent initiatives have been implemented in New Zealand schools to address the educational disparities between Māori and non-Māori.

Many of these initiatives have been premised on an influential Māori education strategy called Ka Hikitia. The overall goal of the Ka Hikitia strategy is to enable Māori to enjoy and achieve educational success as Māori and the Ministry of Education has described this as being when “Māori students have their identity, language and culture valued and included in teaching and learning in ways that support them to engage and achieve success” and when they “know their potential and feel supported to set goals and take action to enjoy success”.

The research further suggests that enabling Māori to succeed as Māori involves:·

• Implementing teaching and learning approaches in schools that are engaging, effective, and enjoyable for all Māori students

• Having appropriately high expectations for all Māori students

• Tracking and monitoring what works to support excellent Māori educational outcomes

• Developing productive partnerships with whānau, iwi, and community that are responsive and reciprocal – leading to collective action, outcomes, and solutions

Dr Webber will outline the objectives and key findings of three recent research initiatives/projects she has been involved in: Ka Awatea: An iwi case study of Maori student success; Maori Achievement Collaboratives (MACs) and The Starpath Project.

Last month Dr Webber received a Rutherford Discovery Fellowship worth $800,000 for a five-year research project entitled: Kia tu rangatira ai nga iwi Māori: living, succeeding, and thriving as iwi Māori. In 2016, Dr Webber received a Marsden Fast-start Grant worth $300,000 for another project entitled: A fire in the belly of Hineāmaru.

Dr Webber is the current director of The Starpath Project for Tertiary Participation and Success, which aims to improve educational achievement of Māori, Pacific and students from low socio-economic communities through research and evidence-based school interventions.

“Achieving equity and excellence in education for Māori students” is on Wednesday, 8 November from 6 - 7pm at the Whangarei Central Library, 5 Rust Ave, Whangarei.

END

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