A Future for Māori Education Part II: The Reintegration of Culture and Education

Education of the individual is of fundamental importance to the future of the Māori people in their determination to secure for themselves an economic future that removes them from the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder. In two papers dedicated to the advancement of Māori education, poor educational performance and marginal economic success by Māori is attributed, in large part, to the imposition of culturally inappropriate Eurocentric expectations on the minority, resulting in identity loss and disengagement within the schools and universities. For Māori, the resurgent propagation of only one culture by government and cultural hegemony by the majority has resulted in social dichotomy. Māori culture has been marginalized and a monoculture now prevails driven by the determination of government to eliminate all race-based programs from the government agenda. Education and culture are inextricably interwoven and their dissociation from each other has been culturally detrimental. With the attempts by mainstream to impose Eurocentric cultural values and education on Māori, a dissociation of education from culture became inevitable. While a European education was needed to function in a Eurocentric society the end result, descriptive of all indigenous people emerging from colonization, has been one of disillusionment and disengagement. 

In this paper the concept of reintegration of Māori education with Māori culture is introduced, and for this to occur three major new initiatives are recommended. First, Māori culture must be reinforced, rebuilt, re-established, and refurbished; this can only be done through the development of culturally appropriate educational programs promoted and delivered within the marae environment. Second, Māori need to assume the teaching of secondary school education to their children within Māori Wānanga that will allow seamless education for all Māori children from the beginning of secondary all the way through to the bachelor degree end of tertiary education; this may reduce disengagement and subsequent drop out of Māori from education, as well as reduction in their suspension rates. Third, a National Māori University should be established that will allow the development of Māori scholarship to the highest international levels, but within a Māori environment. A National Māori University will also assist Māori focus beyond national boundaries as they learn to integrate with, and actively contribute to, the emerging global society.

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