Report from Te Ara Whakamana: Pathways, transitions and bridges to tertiary education forum
Te Ara Whakamana held on 4 and 5 July in Wellington, saw 200 participants explore a range of issues related to educational pathways and moving from secondary to tertiary sectors.
Notably, the two keynote speakers – Professor John Polesel from the University of Melbourne and Dr Gary Hoachlander of ConnectEd – presented international experiences that are both challenging and encouraging for New Zealand.
Professor Polesel drew on the experience of Australian secondary schools to argue that vocational education is often seen as simply 'a tool used to fix problems' like skill shortages or unemployment, rather than a valid pathway in its own right, and that this severely undermines quality. Dr Hoachlander described the Linked Learning initiative being pursued in California, which addresses this by integrating a demanding ‘academic’ curriculum with technical training and work-based learning.
Jointly hosted by Ako Aotearoa and the Centre for Studies in Multiple Pathways at Manukau Institute of Technology, we were delighted to combine our efforts to provide attendees with a stimulating programme that covered a diverse range of topics. These included transitions in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, vocational pathways, bridging education, and supporting learners through transitions.
One of the most thought-provoking sessions was the panel discussion Ensuring Successful Transitions for Young Māori. The four presenters, Nathan Durie, Dr Elana Curtis, Raewyn Tipene and Oriana Rarere, took a direct and frank approach to emphasising the importance of planning with and for learners. They highlighted the need for educators to adequately prepare learners for tertiary education and encourage them to widen their subject choices. The session ran over time – both presenters and audience acknowledging the need for further discussion, given the breadth and importance of the topic.
Dale Bailey of Careers New Zealand gave another notable presentation, which covered the central role of careers management in supporting lifelong transitions, and the need to rethink the way in which we approach developing people’s skills in this area. Dale foreshadowed the release, later this year, of a set of benchmarks for tertiary education providers to use in considering how well they support the development of career management competencies amongst their students.
Many of the topics and themes across these various sessions were brought together by one of the final speakers at the event: the Ministry of Education’s Arthur Graves, who spoke on the Youth Guarantee scheme. This is a core government initiative with multiple strands, designed to give all students clearer and more effective pathways from secondary school into tertiary study and employment. Arthur’s presentation described the different strands within the Youth Guarantee, and the underlying philosophy and goals of this work.
Co-hosting Te Ara Whakamana demonstrates Ako Aotearoa’s role as a strategic leader in tertiary education. In coming years the Centre will hold similar forums on other major issues facing the sector as a whole; the Tuia Te Ako 2010 and 2012 hui are current examples of this kind of work. Ako Aotearoa’s intention is always to bring together participants from across the sector to challenge existing approaches, share ideas and identify common interests, and spread good practice throughout our tertiary education system.
Presentations from Te Ara Whakamana
Visit the Te Ara Whakana presentations page to find links to presentations mentioned above. Other presentations will be published to the website as they become available.