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Budget on Target for Maori Tertiary Students.

Media Statement – For Immediate Release 15.06.00

Budget on Target for Maori Tertiary Students.

Press Release – Te Mana Akonga (Inc.)

A commitment to Maori has been clearly backed by the Government in several Closing the Gaps initiatives revealed in today’s Budget announcement. The Government has identified several key tertiary education initiatives that aim to improve the social and economic status of Maori which have been welcomed by Te Mana Akonga (Inc.), the National Maori University Students’ Association.

Danica Waiti, Kaituuhono for Te Mana Akonga (Inc.) says, “Many of the Labour Party promises made in He Putahitanga Hou have been addressed in the initiatives outlined in the Budget today. It is pleasing to see a Government who announces a commitment to and acknowledgement of the Treaty of Waitangi, and then proceeds to actually develop and finance these promises. For far too long, the importance of Maori development has been side-lined by previous Government’s. The emphasis on the responsibility of the Government to Maori in a Treaty partner relationship is of great importance here”.

Some of the key tertiary education initiatives for Maori include:

 A Maori Tertiary Education Strategy to raise participation and achievement of Maori in tertiary education over the next two years.

“This strategy will play a large part in addressing anecdotal and actual evidence surrounding falling rates of Maori enrollments and Maori retention at universities. Although the number of Maori enrollments has increased, Maori are still under-represented at a tertiary level”, says Miss Waiti.

 An equity initiative to improve access and achievement for under-represented groups at a tertiary level. This may include bridging, scholarship and mentoring programmes.

“Support systems for Maori entering or already enrolled at universities can affect retention rates of students. The ‘bums on seats’ mentality can longer be employed at institutions if there is a commitment to participation and retention of Maori students”, says Miss Waiti.

 A Maori participation initiative to remove barriers to success through mentoring programmes at secondary school level that will encourage the transistion towards tertiary education.

“The Government has identified a key issue in Maori participation rates at a tertiary level in that it is dependant on secondary school outcomes and levels of achievement for Maori students. Maori students at secondary schools are less likely than non-Maori to reach senior levels, thus affecting their ability to participate in the tertiary sector, says Miss Waiti.

 A stabilisation of tertiary fees initiative aimed at holding tuition fees at current 2000 levels by providing institutions the choice of accepting a 2.3% funding increase on the basis of fee stabilisation.

“The main contributing factor towards the huge debt owed by students today has been increasing tuition fees at tertiary institutions. This initiative does seek to reduce student debt by encouraging institutions to stabilise fees however, the initiative is not strong enough. Institutions have the onus on whether or not to stabilise fees and it is not expected that a 2.3% funding increase will have enough sway to guarantee agreement from all universities”, says Miss Waiti.

“We can see the effort that the current Government is putting into improving the education status of Maori. Hopefully this will not be a short-term approach by the Government in the recognition of its responsibilities to Maori under the Articles of the Treaty of Waitangi”, concludes Miss Waiti.

For further information contact:

Danica Waiti Ph. 04 498 2506 or 021 440 279
Te Mana Akonga (Inc.)

© Scoop Media

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