11 Jun 2011

Qualified approval for teachers to learn more Maori

1:45 pm on 11 June 2011

School leaders say a call for all secondary teachers to learn more Maori is a good idea, but might be difficult to realise.

The Maori Youth Council has recommended the move to Maori Affairs Minister and Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples, who says he is excited about it.

The council's report says a better understanding of Maori is imperative for teachers if they're to have respectful relationships with Maori students.

The principals' body, though, questions whether it should be made mandatory, and a teachers' union is asking how it would be resourced.

The Secondary Principals Association and the Post Primary Teachers Association say research shows cultural understanding leads to better teaching.

But they say secondary teachers already learn Maori as part of their initial training and there is little time for further training once they have graduated.

The Maori Party's other co-leader, Tariana Turia, is backing the recommendation. She told Waatea News that in nursing, by comparison, cultural competency has improved relations with Maori patients.

She also says all public servants should be required to be culturally competent.