Barriers To Maori Student Success At The University Of Canterbury
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
This thesis explores how the University of Canterbury has responded to the Tertiary Education Strategy's (2002-2007) concerns vis-à-vis declining Maori participation and unsatisfactory rates of retention and completion in mainstream universities. This research is based on the qualitative method of in-depth taped interviews with twenty-five participants enrolled as 'Maori' at Canterbury in 2004. Notwithstanding increased recognition of biculturalism at Canterbury, issues relating to entrenched monoculturalism identified by Grennell (1990), Clothier (2000) and Phillips (2003) appear to be largely unresolved. Participants confirm the Ministry of Education's (2001) contention that Personal and Family Issues, Financial Difficulties, Negative Schooling Experiences, Inadequate Secondary Qualifications, Transitional Difficulties, Isolation, Unwelcoming Tertiary Environments and Inappropriate Support Structures are barriers to Maori success. However, testimonies reflect that these barriers represent exogenous factors derived from state and institutional policies and practices, not endogenous factors attributable to Maori genes, cultural socioeconomic status or engagement with the system. The Tertiary Education Strategy's (2002-2007) devolution of responsibility to institutions to address ethnic disparities in human capital imposes the same structural constraints on Maori that undermine achievement in the compulsory sector. The types of support structures participants identify as conducive to addressing deficit cultural capital and fostering academic achievement are Maori-centred initiatives, devoid of the deficit ideology that underpins mainstream assimilationist interventions; and or institutional provisions that incorporate greater stakeholder input with improved accountability and monitoring mechanisms that safeguard against recourse to deficit rationalizations for underachievement. Maori parity in engagement with the tertiary education sector is contingent upon the state and its institutions redressing the cumulative effects of the colonial and neo-colonial marginalization of Maori in Aotearoa/New Zealand.