5 Oct 2018

Jobs at risk after review of Māori tertiary provider

2:20 pm on 5 October 2018

Jobs could be on the line at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa (TWOA) following its external evaluation and review from the New Zealand Qualifications Authority.

Te Ururoa Flavell Māori Party Co-leader

Te Ururoa Flavell says re-prioritising quality assurance and improving staff training is key. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

The Māori tertiary provider has been downgraded from a category one non-university provider to a category three provider - showing a vote of no confidence by the NZQA.

An external evaluation and review provides an independent judgement of the educational performance and capability in self-assessment of all non-university education organisations.

The review stated there were 1200 full-time teachers and 413 part-time teachers, as well as more than 30,804 students at Te Wananga of Aoteroa (TWOA).

NZQA made five key recommendations in their review.

This included improving how graduate outcomes across the organisation and programmes were collated and analysed.

There was also a need to improve moderation and assessment strategies - as there had been a long term weakness in the accuracy of assessor judgement.

The NZQA also recommended TWOA considered including in internal programme reviews a check of programme delivery against programme approvals.

This included ensuring the wananga showing how its philosophical-based framework Te Kaupapa Matua was expressed in programme delivery.

Developing internal quality checks such as audits was also recommended - to ensure statutory conditions are well understood and met.

NZQA also raised concerns about subcontracting arrangements TWOA has with a network of organisation for delivery of some home-based programmes.

In February 2018, NZQA became aware TWOA did not have formal approval for several of these arrangements.

TWOA restropectively applied for and gained approval from NZQA for these arrangements.

However, concerns remained regarding the effectiveness of this oversight by TWOA and the administration of assessment conducted by its third parties.

TWOA chief executive Te Ururoa Flavell said assessment practices needed improvement in some programmes across the organisation.

"We acknowledge that and are absolutely committed to addressing these matters."

Mr Flavell said re-prioritising quality assurance and improving staff training and development to improve educational delivery was key in the outcome of the review.

Mr Flavell would now lead a significant review and organisational restructure.

He said there may be job losses, as TWOA was also projecting its first financial deficit in more than a decade.

"Te Wānanga o Aotearoa has a crucial role to play for Māoridom and the country," he said.

"Our ongoing viability is reliant on robust processes, high-quality programmes and financial sustainability for the future - that is our focus."

Mr Flavell said deficits had become the reality for the vast majority of providers in the Institutes of Technology and Polytechnic sector.

"With most polytechnics and tertiary institutes struggling to achieve surpluses due to declining enrolments and government funding caps - we are no different."