Can the Maori Party’s kawanatanga policy influence tertiary ed?Publish By NZweek News Staff Updated 01/12/2011 2:53 pm in Opinion / no comments
If the Maori Party chooses to focus on tertiary education in its negotiations it could have a significant impact for the sector over the next three years says the TEU Tumu Arataki, Cheri Waititi.
While the party did not publish a specific tertiary education policy before the election, two of its three caucus members, Dr Pita Sharples and Te Ururoa Flavell, have been very involved in tertiary education prior to their election as politicians and have continued to advocate for education as part of their portfolio responsibilities.
The party’s kawanatanga policy proposes making education more accessible for all, by introducing a fee reduction policy to reduce fees to a nominal level over time. It would also increase access to student allowances, by reintroducing a universal student allowance – which will be set at the level of the unemployment benefit.
Ms Waititi says the success of these policies rely on “working with our people in our tertiary institutions about how those in the sector can push to have these policies implemented.”
“This is all about making sure tertiary education is accessible to everyone in our society, not just those who can pay. The sector has experienced sustained underfunding over a long period of time, which has resulted in course cuts and restrictions on entry for some programmes. The government currently does not have a clear vision for how it will ensure that Maori are able to participate in tertiary education in the same way as other citizens.”
The Maori Party would also delay the requirement to repay student loan debt. It would advocate for increased Maori representation on tertiary governance bodies, including mana whenua and Maori student representation. It would link funding to Maori course and qualification completion, and legislate to require the Tertiary Education Commission, to have regard for Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
The party wants to increase Maori trade training, cadetships and apprenticeships across growth areas, to reinstate the Training Incentive Allowance, and to promote collaborative arrangements between WINZ, iwi and education providers for training opportunities.
The Maori Party’s policy to make Te reo Maori compulsorily available in schools and compulsory Treaty education should have ‘flow-on’ effects for tertiary education providers as well.
Ms Waititi says if the Maori Party wants to leave a legacy it should consider doing so in tertiary education. “We teach the teachers… ECE through to tertiary.”
“We, as educationalists, need to build a relationship with Maori Party MPs and they with us, so they can influence tertiary education policy over the next three years in ways that supports high quality public education for all Maori students.”
By Stephen Day