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UCOL | Te Pūkenga Introduces Early Childhood Education Degree In Whanganui

UCOL | Te Pūkenga have announced that they will be offering a Te Tohu Paetahi Akoranga: Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Education) at their Whanganui campus from 2024.

The three-year degree, which will launch in the first semester next year with our first intake of Year 1 students, offers a clear pathway for ākonga mā (learners) who want to develop their skills in Early Childhood Education and become a registered Early Childhood Teacher.

UCOL | Te Pūkenga ECE Lecturer and Kaiarahi, Jess Hemi (Ngāti Raukawa, Te Iwi Morehu, Ngāti Apa Ki te Rā Tō, Ngāpuhi), says that the degree is a step up from the one-year New Zealand diploma we currently offer.

"The first year of the degree is aligned with the diploma but offers more practical hands-on experience and is a great opportunity for people who love working with tamariki (children) to upskill and significantly advance their knowledge and skills. UCOL | Te Pūkenga also has a transition plan in place for our past graduates of our diploma programme to enrol in to the degree and upskill their initial diploma qualification.

“It isn’t just limited to those already studying the diploma of early childhood, education and care; it's open to anyone planning to enter or wanting to advance in the industry. For me, I was working in Early Childhood Education (ECE) for almost two decades before deciding to study Early Childhood at UCOL.”

For ākonga starting the first year of their Bachelor's degree in Whanganui next year, Ms Hemi says they can expect lots of hands-on experience with our field-based applied degree approach. The support UCOL | Te Pūkenga has had from Early Childhood providers and the community has been excellent and this will be a real strength of the programme going forward. It is great that we are now able to introduce this degree into Whanganui.

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“Each week they’ll spend two days in class and then two days at an ECE centre. Once a year, ākonga also complete a four or five-week placement practicum throughout different types of centres – ranging from Kindergarten and Childcare centres to Montessori, Kōhanga reo and Pasifika centres. This delivery mix of both on-campus learning and early childhood placements provides a unique opportunity for students to maximise their learning both within the classroom and within industry.”

UCOL ECE Kaimahi (Lecturer), Mariana Raukawa (Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāi Tūhoe), adds that with a big shortage of ECE teachers in the industry, there are plenty of career opportunities available for ākonga.

“There are so many career prospects for ECE teachers and relievers in Whanganui at the moment and centres are always looking for qualified graduates. Every centre has a philosophy and vision specific to their service type so there’s lots of opportunities for ākonga to find a place where they fit.”

Some of the biggest benefits of the degree are the relationship-based learning and face-to-face classes, says Miss Raukawa.

“Most other tertiary institutions in our rohe offer their courses online now so having face-to-face classes is a huge drawcard. From my own experience studying, there's something special about having teachers who support and connect with you and being able to put a face to a name. It makes a big difference, especially for our Māori and Pasifika ākonga. The student support that students can access on campus here at UCOL is excellent and really contributes to the success of our students”

For those considering a career in education, Miss Raukawa says Whanganui’s new Bachelor of Teaching (ECE) is the perfect place to jump in.

“It could be life-changing for you. When I was considering whether I should do ECE, I questioned my patience, whether I could do it, whether I could study, but I took the leap and it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made - and you could do it too.”

“It’s an amazing career - you’re shaping the future right at the beginning,” says Ms Hemi.

For more information about Te Tohu Paetahi Akoranga: Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Education), visit our website.


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