“Maori Need their Own Schools to Achieve” Essay Example

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Education i


This paper is an analysis of the statement: “Maori need their Own Schools to Achieve.” To confirm whether they actually need own schools, it is imperative to begin by examining “to achieve” in the context of Maori and highlight whether it is specific or not. This requires consulting various literatures and studies carried out by different researchers. Subsequently, existence of language elements that are controversial will be addressed. The last part focuses on assumptions present and whether such assumptions were valid.

To achieve”

In the statement, “to achieve” is more general and subjective in nature. If it were tackled from the context of a school, “to achieve” would simply refer to Maori success in educational performance as compared to non.Maori. Achievement can also be viewed in terms of the ability to handle challenges in life after going through the schooling system. There is no doubt that achievement varies with cultural background of the people and this is quite clear where achievement in British culture does not correspond with Maori achievement.

To the Maori, mastery of traditional cultural practises used to be an ideal measure of achievement and that is why most of them achieved their identity through culture. Conversely, the non-Maori gauge their achievement by checking educational achievement in schools after a rigorous process of classroom teaching and learning. Dannette (2008) argues that relationship between cultural identity and educational perfomance was statistically significant. There were low levels of educational achievement with those who possessed Maori ethnic identifications as compared with non-Maori. The study further affirms that greater socio-economic disadvantage among the Maori children contributed to dismal educational achievement. Dannette gives other educational difference between the Maori and Non-Maori to include dissimilar worldviews, distinct educational practises, and contrasting approach to cognition. Moreover, poor achievement is intertwined with the failure to actively recognise, transmit, and reinforce values and believes of Maori across educational field.

Elements of controversy

The first element of controversy is where the statement points to the Maori people only when in fact there are several other cultures in the society. Originally, New Zealand was bi-cultural society but is now multicultural. Consideration of Maori students is therefore an outright exclusion of students from other cultures such as the Pacific Islanders and the whites.

The other aspect of controversy is a proposal by the statement to have Maori schools. Such a move is controversial given that governments across the globe are tending towards convergence of various ethnic communities into a single world order. It is therefore ambiguous since establishing Maori schools is a setback towards liberalising the education system. Many schools, including institutions of higher learning are disseminating knowledge on education borrowing where a student can learn from various cultures. In this context, the Maori should open up their minds to learn from other cultures. This means that the issue of Maori schools is farfetched. Instead, some aspects of Maori culture can be taught in schools along with other subjects.

Assumptions in the statement

The statement, “Maori need their own school in order to achieve” assumes that Maori have been performing poorly as compared to non-Maori. As opposed to establishing Maori schools, the students need to be integrated in bilingual schools or immersion schools. In such a school, students are more likely to attain NCEA qualifications and eventually gain admission into university (Haobo, 2006). Students in Immersion or bilingual schools often register strong literacy skills and credits in Mathematics as compared to Maori students in mainstream schools. Murray (2007) affirms the possibility of students at immersion and bilingual schools meeting literacy requirements. Murray discovered that candidates at the 11th and 12th year in bilingual schools had high chances of attaining NCEA qualification as compared to those in immersion schools. Besides, bilingual and immersion candidates are in a position of gaining an NCEA level three in their 12th or 13th year when compared with Maori in mainstream schools.

According to Bishop (2009), teachers play a major role in student’s achievement. In the research, students complained about the traditional approaches to teaching which widely involved writing notes and lecturing. Students showed contentment with group discussion where they could learn from each other. Within those groups, teachers were able to give personalised attention. Teachers are obliged to formulate innovative learning experiences such as debates and dialogues that enhance interactions. From Bishop’s research, it is obvious that Maori achievement can be improved by using effective teacher and learning strategies.


Even though the statement proposes for Maori schools in order to improve educational performance, research indicates performance can be improved by changing approaches to teaching and learning. By employing effective pedagogy of teaching and learning, achievement of Maori students will be improved.


Bishop, R., & Berryman, M. (2009). The Te Kotahitanga effective teaching profile. Set: Research Information for Teachers, 2, 27-33.

Dannette M., et al. (2008) «Educational achievement in Maori: The roles of cultural identity and social disadvantage,» Australian Journal of Education, 52 (2), Article 7.
Haobo, W., Harkess, C., & Parkin, M. (2006). Māori Student Achievement on the National Qualifications Framework 2002-2005 Fact Sheet. educationcounts.govt.nz. education courts publications. Retrieved from: http://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/publications/maori/2223. Retrieved on August 24, 2011.

Murray, S. (2007). Achievement at Maoriimmersion & bilingual schools”. educationcounts.govt.nz. educationcourts. Retrieved from
http://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/__data/assets/pdf_file/0015/14433/achiev e-maori-immersion-2005.pdf. Retrieved on August 24th, 2011.