Submission to NZQA on the proposed model for quality assuring Mātauranga Māori courses and qualifications
The Ako Aotearoa Māori Caucus's submission to NZQA on the proposed model for quality assuring Mātauranga Māori courses and qualifications.
Ako Aotearoa is the National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence. Our vision is the best possible educational outcomes for all learners. Our work towards this vision focuses on building strong and collaborative relationships with tertiary organisations, practitioners and learners to enhance the effectiveness of tertiary teaching and learning practices.
The following strategic themes guide our work:
- Enhancing service standards of tertiary organisations and aspiring to excellence
- Evidence-based enhancement of practice at the individual and the organisational level
- Strategic and sustainable support for Maori educators and learners within an Ako Framework
- Supporting Pacific Peoples’ advancement through tertiary education
- Hearing and acting on the learner voice
- Working in partnership and maximising leverage across the tertiary sector for learner benefit
- Promoting discussion and debate about the enhancement of tertiary teaching and learning
As an independent organisation working across the tertiary sector, we believe our role is to promote good practice in tertiary teaching and learning, wherever it occurs. Moreover, it is important that we act as an independent voice for effective teaching and learning - taking a leadership role to champion its cause. We have our own independent Board that is complemented by our Māori Caucus that has a critical governance function to develop and oversee the centre’s Māori teaching and learning strategy.
Te tikanga - Purpose and summary
The purpose of this paper is to provide feedback from Ako Aotearoa’s Māori Caucus to the proposed model for quality assuring mātauranga Māori courses and qualifications.
The paper addresses the following areas:
- Mātauranga Māori - Definitions
- Ki tā te Māori titiro - The process in “Te Ao Māori”
- He arotake i runga i te Kaupapa Māori – Evaluation of the proposed model against the Ako Framework
- Kupu whakamutunga
1. Mātauranga Māori - Definitions
Two definitions of mātauranga Māori are offered in the discussion document. Dr Charles Royal defines mātauranga Māori as:
- an encompassing, global way to refer to all knowledge created by Māori in history according to their experiences, worldview and lifeways, and
- a more restrictive fashion to refer to knowledge created under the inspiration of an ‘atua Māori’, which was the preserve of a tohunga Māori.
NZQA’s Ngā Kaitūhono advisory group defines mātauranga Māori as “a dynamic and evolving range of knowledge areas; that it is not limited to Te Ao Tāwhito, and includes everything in Te Ao Māori.”
A brief scan of wānanga by way of comparison reveals the following:
Te Wānanga o Aotearoa is “Guided by Māori principles and values, we take great pride in this nurturing and inclusive learning environment, as well as the depth and diversity of our courses in small business, computing, social work, teaching, Māori performing arts and te reo Māori.”
Te Wānanga o Raukawa states, “It is about understanding kaupapa and tikanga Māori that define the way we look at our world as Māori. The DipMS programme looks at Māori knowledge, as our tūpuna understood it, as we understand it today and as it will be applied tomorrow.”
We believe it is entirely appropriate that NZQA provide a definition of mātauranga Māori given that it is proposing a model to quality assure mātauranga Māori courses and qualifications. A definition would clearly define the boundaries for providers. It is also noted that the definitions offered in the discussion document are very broad and easily encompass the views held by two of the wānanga.
2. Ki tā te Māori titiro - The process in “Te Ao Māori”
While mātauranga Māori defines the content, Kaupapa Māori provides the lens or the principles that underline the process.
According to Graham Smith (1997), “In a Kaupapa Māori framework, to be Māori is taken for granted; one’s identity is not being subtly undermined by a ‘hidden curriculum’. Māori language, knowledge, culture and values are validated and legitimated. Māori cultural aspirations, particularly in a wider societal context of the struggle for language and cultural survival, is more assured”
In our view; this is where the proposed model is lacking. There appears to be no place given to Kaupapa Māori principles within the process. In our experience, effective interaction with Māori tertiary providers is Kaupapa Māori based. In our view the current process is not only described in mainstream language, it also appears to be very similar to the existing mainstream quality assurance process with the addition of the opportunity for early engagement and the Māori Qual Mark.
Ako Aotearoa has its own Kaupapa Māori framework called Te Tauāki Ako – The Ako Framework. The framework underpins how we support Māori learners and educators but also informs how we work for all learners. It also reflects the dimensions that we believe organisations and educators working within a Kaupapa Māori context should address and incorporate into their business practice. It is also an evaluation tool for engagement with Māori in the tertiary sector and for evaluating the cultural appropriateness of existing and new programmes. We thought it appropriate to test the proposed model against the Ako framework.
3. He arotake i runga i te Tauāki Ako – Evaluation of the proposed model against the Ako Framework
The basis of this response is an evaluation of the proposed quality assurance model against the principles of our Ako Framework, Te Tauākī Ako. A Kaupapa Māori framework that informs the way we work with Māori tertiary teachers and learners.
The evaluation takes place against the following Kaupapa Māori principles.
- Te reo Māori
- Taunaki – evidence
- Whanaungatanga – kinship, relationships
- Mana & Kaitiakitanga – guardianship, sustainability
- Ūkaipōtanga – commitment to a discipline, loyalty
- Manaakitanga – hospitality, inclusiveness
- Kairangi – excellence
Te reo Māori
There is little use of te reo Māori in the proposed process. While it may be practical to use terms such as, “Early Engagement”, “Key Mātauranga Māori Evaluative Questions”, “Outcomes and Process Indicators”, Performance Criteria” and “Māori Qual Mark”, the assumption is that because this is a model to quality assure “Mātauranga Māori courses and qualifications”, the headings would at least be bi-lingual. To ensure that the model is conceptually right, we also believe that it must be considered in terms of Te Ao Māori i.e. what does it means to quality assure mātauranga Māori courses and qualifications in Te Ao Māori rather than simply translating the status quo?
The process also needs to consider the place of evidence generated by research within the process. How do providers show they and their course is effective, learner centred, and Kaupapa Māori based? We suggest that good teaching practice would be supported with an evidence base from student surveys and the use of research data from studies such as Hei Tauira.
Also, given that the quality assurance system is moving towards an evidence based system, there are questions of how the evidence base would link in with existing systems e.g. self-assessment and external review?
How inclusive is the current process of whānau, hapū, iwi, and Māori/Mātā Waka relationships? In the indicators there is reference to, “achieving outcomes that will meet the needs and aspirations of learners/wider communities”, and “supported by key contributing processes that contribute towards the achievement of outcomes that represent quality and values for learners/wider communities”. We believe that a process framed in Te Ao Māori would focus on whānau, hapū, iwi, and Māori/Mātā Waka.
We are also of the view that any model for the quality assurance of mātauranga Māori courses and qualifications should be the result of a organisational commitment by NZQA to ensure that recognition of the special place of mātauranga Māori occurs within all of its processes. It is clear to us, that the current processes originate from another world view. The proposed model would not be fully related to the rest of the NZQA machinery and it will inevitably be marginalised.
Mana & Kaitiakitanga
The principle of mana focuses on reputation and authority. The principle notes that reputation is built on the quality of delivery, relevance and contribution to the local area and people. Authority in the case of the provider may be conferred on it by the iwi kāinga, who through a relationship with the provider have determined that;
- the provider has systems and processes in place that recognise the mana of the iwi kāinga
- the provider can deliver courses in the local dialect, tikanga, kawa, whakapapa and history that is of a sufficiently high standard
Kaitiakitanga embraces the notions of ownership of knowledge and sustainability. All tertiary providers are located within iwi rohe and it would be presumed that a Kaupapa Māori model and the relationship referred to above would also;
- ensure the iwi kāinga is acknowledged as the source of the knowledge
- commit the provider to ensuring that the course remains relevant to the learners, whānau, hapū and iwi of that area
The principle of Ūkaipōtanga is about provider commitment to the rohe, and a reciprocal commitment from the whānau/hapū/iwi that make up the community because the courses are relevant, whānau, hapū and iwi are valued, and the delivery is of a high standard.
The principle of manaakitanga is closely aligned to ūkaipōtanga. Manaakitanga is about care, hospitality and generosity. The ability of the provider to provide Kaupapa Māori based pastoral care for its learners is paramount. The provider should also demonstrate clear benefits to the learner, whānau, hapū, iwi and Māori. The Hei Tauira study provides some clear evidence of the need to provide appropriate pastoral care to Māori learners.
If excellence is the benchmark for the proposed “Māori Qual Mark” then that benchmark should be defined by Te Ao Māori. Kairangi or excellence is attained when a provider can show their course(s) and qualification(s) has met all of the standards set by a Kaupapa Māori framework.
In addition, we ask what value the proposed Māori Qual Mark has over and above the NZQA approved mark? If the current benchmark is NZQA approved, how will the two co-exist under the proposed model? While it would seem logical that the proposed model would have its own mark, we believe that the “mana” of the qual mark would be underpinned by the ability of the proposed model to assure that all courses and qualifications meet all of the standards set by a Kaupapa Māori framework.
4. Kupu whakamutunga
It is important to point out that the principles used in this evaluation are only eight of the fourteen principles that make up our Ako Framework. It is our belief that:
- The appropriate model for assuring mātauranga Māori courses and qualifications must be Kaupapa Māori based.
- The proposed model is shown to be insufficient when evaluated against a Kaupapa Māori framework.
- The nub of the issue from our perspective is that NZQA is attempting to establish a parallel process without fully addressing the kaupapa. The preferred solution would be a “Te Ao Māori” based approach within NZQA across all of its qualifications systems that recognise the special nature of mātauranga and Kaupapa Māori. If the existing processes within NZQA i.e. qualification registration, remain unchanged, the new model would not be fully related to the rest of what NZQA is doing and as a result would inevitably become marginalised.
He ara whakamua – Proposed way forward
It seems to us that the solution to this isn’t necessarily that problematic. An important first step would be to evaluate NZQA’s quality assurance processes as a whole (i.e. accreditation, approval and evaluative QE) against a Kaupapa Maori framework. We are happy to offer Te Tauākī Ako for this purpose, but would assume that much – if not all - of this work has already been undertaken previously by NZQA in discussion with the Wānanga.
We would assume that few if any of NZQA’s processes prohibit reframing in this way (indeed the new quality enhancement approach is not prescriptive of context), but there will be dimensions and understandings required by an explicit Kaupapa approach that are not covered. It is these that need to be articulated and it is the fulfilment of these in a holistic way that will merit the proposed Qual Mark. This, in our view better positions the proposed processes in an overarching way rather than having the appearance of being a “clip on” to an established set of mainstream protocols.