13 Nov 2014

Association believes other courses will suffer

7:56 am on 13 November 2014

The National Maori Tertiary Students Association, Te Mana Akonga, says other Maori courses at the Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki will be under scrutiny.

The Tertiary Education Commission and the New Zealand Qualifications Authority this week released a damning review of the institute's level 4 and 6 Maori Performing Arts Certificate and Diploma run from 2009 to 2013.

The independent report found that enrolment and assessment process had not been followed at the polytech, and there was evidence that students were self-teaching and had little or no contact with tutors.

As result all the level six Diploma in Maori Performing Arts qualifications earned at the institute between 2009 and 2013 have been rescinded, affecting about 350 students, and another 56 level 4 Certificate in Maori Performing Arts students have had their qualifications withdrawn.

National Maori Tertiary Students Association's acting president Ivy Harper says there will be questions about whether those courses should be retained in the long term or phased out.

Ms Harper said they would not be the only Maori courses under scrutiny after the Taranaki polytech was forced to pay back $3.7 million in government funding.

She said that is a lot of money for an institute to have to repay - meaning there will be short cuts somewhere else and nine times out of 10 those will be Maori programmes.

The chief executive of the Tertiary Education Commission is refuting concerns about the institute's failures having an effect on Maori tertiary training courses throughout Aotearoa.

Tim Fowler said aspersions should not be cast on the 20 existing Maori performing arts programmes just because of what has happened at the Western Institute of Technology.

The problems that have occurred at the institute are not indicative of a systemic problem with Maori performing arts courses, he said.

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