The 2011 merger of Tairāwhiti Polytechnic and Hawke’s Bay’s Eastern Institute of Technology delivered EIT one of the largest percentages of Māori students of any in New Zealand’s institutes of technology and polytechnics (ITP) sector.
Thirty percent of students at the Hawke’s Bay campus and more than 70 percent at Gisborne’s Tairāwhiti campus identify as Māori.
The NZQA says it is “highly confident” in EIT’s educational performance and also in its capability to self-assess, the highest possible ratings for the two areas covered in the independent review process.
And in its recently released external evaluation and review (EER) report, it points to the “important contribution” EIT is making to mātauranga Māori – the Māori world view encompassing knowledge, wisdom and understanding.
Students, the authority says, are gaining the opportunity to contribute back to their communities in a range of ways, including through marae and iwi restoration projects, māra kai (growing vegetable gardens) and te reo Māori projects.
“This has been acknowledged positively by iwi in particular, who have not underestimated the contribution and dedication of Māori studies staff across both campuses to the maintenance and revitalisation of te reo and tikanga Māori in their respective communities.”
The NZQA review considered course and qualification completions and recently established as well as more longstanding programmes, some offered across both EIT campuses with others based at either Tairāwhiti or in Hawke’s Bay.
Covering a wide range of Levels 1 to 9 student programmes, it drew on student achievement data from EIT, NZQA and the Tertiary Education Commission. It also appraised the value of qualifications to employers and their level of satisfaction with graduates.
Māori achieved a 75 percent completion rate across all programmes in 2013, compared with 80 percent for all students.
In a New Zealand first for an EER review and at EIT’s request, two programmes offered through Te Ūranga Waka, the school for Māori studies in Hawke’s Bay, and Te Whatukura in Gisborne were evaluated using the Mātauranga Māori Evaluative Quality Assurance framework – the Bachelor of Arts (Māori) and the Certificate in Māori Studies.
In the 2011-2013 period, 83 percent of degree students completed while the certificate completion rate was 68 percent.
The authority found the merged institute had responded to its changing demographic through a strong analysis of performance for priority students. It was, for example, monitoring the narrowing gap in achievement between Māori and non-Māori students.
EIT acknowledged more work was to be done and its focus, the report says, is on developing processes and practices aimed at lifting performance.
The institute’s Youth Guarantee programme grew from 74 equivalent full-time students in 2010 to 204 in 2013 while its Trades Academy, opened with 245 students in 2012, had 368 enrolled in the following year.
Commenting on the review, EIT chief executive Chris Collins says it is encouraging for the institute to have the NZQA confirm that Māori are being offered access to a top quality tertiary education within their rohe.
EIT director of academic and student services Jo Blakeley says the review boosts EIT’s confidence in developing further initiatives to meet the needs of the Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti communities and developing the institute’s sense of mātauranga Māori.