Earlier this month Te Pūkenga released their working draft, Te Rito, the first in a series of reports aimed at identifying opportunities for learner success.

Te Rito: Insights from learners and staff – opportunities to enhance success for all Te Pūkenga learners and Māori learners aims to centre on learners and whānau, better understand what currently works and does not work for learners, and builds upon insights gained through online and face to face engagements with learners and those who support them.

The report identifies potential opportunities to enhance success for all learners, especially those the vocational education and training sector hasn’t previously served well, and states ākonga Māori want a greater focus on and recognition of te ao Māori perspectives, and whānau-centred support, with whānau and manaaki-centric principles guiding relationships with staff and employers.

While learners expressed there are ‘not enough Māori and Pacific staff in influential roles now, or for the growing number of future learners who have strong cultural identities’ (P5), TEU Te Pou Tuarā, Lee Cooper, says the final iteration of the report must contain more concrete measures for increasing kaimahi Māori representation,

‘For there to be a system that truly supports and delivers for ākonga Māori, there needs to be greater representation by kaimahi Māori to recruit and support them throughout their journey as learners. This representation needs to be increased and strengthened across the whole of the system, from management and leadership positions, lecturers and tutors, to IT, library and administrative staff. In identifying this need, Te Pūkenga must now turn toward making greater representation a reality’.

For Te Pūkenga Union Liaison Officer Drew Duncan, a critical area for improvement is staff voice in the processes and engagement in informing the working drafts,

‘There has clearly been a large amount of data collected and whilst there is staff feedback included it has been limited for several reasons. Like much of the focus of Te Pūkenga there has been less staff input than many would like, and improved and ongoing engagement with staff is essential for this enterprise to succeed’.

Duncan added,

‘To truly put ākonga at the centre, Te Pūkenga must own the fact that there needs to be a reversal of the recent trend of reducing and re-deploying staff, particularly those in support roles. Too many academic staff know first-hand that historically when this happens it is they who end up having to cope without the necessary training or support’.

With Kōtui Kōrero a series of in-person kōrero with subsidiary staff and learners co-hosted by the Te Pūkenga Leadership Team continuing through July, it’s important TEU members continue to engage in the ongoing development of kaupapa guiding the direction of Te Pūkenga, and the futures of Te Pūkenga staff and learners.

Visit here to find out more about Kōtui Kōrero, and to register for a date and location near you.