Key Otaki Education Centre Sees Budget Slashed by $2 million
Otaki’s Raukawa Wananga (Maori University) is at the centre of a political storm following a $2 million cut in its budget by a Government department.
The Crown body which funds tertiary institutions– the Tertiary Education Commission — is being told it is at risk of infringing Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
The Tertiary Commission (TEC) has trimmed $1.9 million from Te Wananga o Raukawa’s budget due to a reportedly ‘poor performance.’
However, the Wananaga’s Tumuaki (President), Merana Selby, has told the Kapiti Independent that results this year are ‘much improved.’
She says 59% of students have completed their courses this year– and there has been a 30% rise in the number of students graduating this year.
And the founder of Te Wananga o Raukawa, Professor Whatarangi Winiata, says the Commission is failing to measure performance by kaupapa and tikanga values.
‘Achieving 74% of targets’
He says the Wananga previously set 104 of its own targets — and is now achieving 74% of them.
Professor Winiata says under the Treaty Maori have tino rangatiratanga, or sovereignty, over their taonga, or treasures — and included in taonga is matauranga Maori, or knowledge.
But the Tertiary Education Commission argues all institutions are measured in the same way – by course and qualification completion, and student progression and retention.
The commission says it’s working with Te Wananga o Raukawa to increase the course completion rate – starting with a target of 55%.
‘Worst of three wananga’ in some areas
TEC figures compared Te Wananga o Raukawa in terms of students completing their qualifications and staying in study.
Last year, while 43% of the Otaki Wananga’s students successfully finished their courses, the figure for Te Wananga o Aotearoa was 76%; and Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi achieved 89%.
Te Wananga o Raukawa’s Mereana Selby, says other wananga tend to select already high-achieving students for their programmes.
Ms Selby says Raukawa’s philosophy is to accept all those who are willing to learn.
She says work has started to improve the low course completion rate, with many tutors undergoing professional development to strengthen students’ understanding of numeracy and literacy.