10 Jul 2012

Iwi eye improving cultural safety of teachers

8:59 pm on 10 July 2012

Maori educators raising issues of cultural safety say concerns over academic achievement by Maori students could be addressed by making it mandatory for all teachers to be "culturally competent".

Iwi Education Authority's cultural arm, Te Kahui Reo Taketake, says compelling all teachers to meet a basic standard may go a long way to help improve the academic achievements of Maori students and their behaviour.

Newly-elected interim chairman of the cultural arm, Toby Curtis, wants all professional teachers organisations and the Teachers Council to show leadership by backing implementation of cultural competency standards.

He says it's not good enough for only teachers of Maori students, to have to understand and respect the way another culture thinks and behaves.

Mr Curtis says it's important if Maori students are to achieve to the best of their ability, that teachers understand and respect the communal approach Maori have to life.

He supports the call by Associate Education Minister Pita Sharples for teachers to develop cultural competency as a strategy to reduce the rate of Maori students being suspended from school.