The recent research evidence and the focus of this TEC review is on what tertiary education organisations can do to actively and successfully engage and support Māori learners in tertiary education.
The literature review has identified key barriers, enablers and opportunities to successful Māori learner transitions and tertiary education experiences.
It is concerning that the futures of rangatahi can be derailed from an early age due to an absence of strong guidance and support and a lack of understanding of the diversity of future pathway opportunities and what is needed to get there. While it is not solely up to TEOs to respond to this concern, the literature identifies the important role TEOs play in the provision of information and guidance to Māori learners and their parents and whānau from the early stages of secondary school right through to learners’ engagement in tertiary education.
Ensuring that Māori learners are socially and academically connected from the outset of their tertiary education journeys can have a key bearing on initial and ongoing experiences and outcomes. Whether Māori learners encounter a culturally relevant, familiar and supportive learning environment is identified as crucial.
This review of recent literature has identified five key integrated components that strongly and consistently emerge as important to enabling such environments:
The synthesis of the recent literature and the clear emergence of core themes has informed the development of key indicators. It is envisaged that the research evidence and indicators together will contribute to both the TEC’s and TEOs’ understanding of what works for Māori learners in tertiary settings and to guide practical responses to doing better for Māori.
The review has also identified a number of research gaps in this area. There is limited understanding of the key tertiary educational outcomes of primacy for Māori and what “success” means. There is a need to better understand the different opportunities available for organisations to partner (including with iwi, industry and TEOs) to better engage, create and support Māori learner opportunities and successful outcomes.
An examination of the roles, activities and expectations of TEOs in the advancement of te reo Māori, Mātauranga Māori and research was largely absent from the recent literature written in English. It was also not possible to identify to what extent the Treaty of Waitangi drives the activities and decisions of TEOs. This is more likely identifiable from analysis of information from individual TEO documentation and engagement.
There is a need for a greater understanding of the impact of initiatives that have been implemented to enhance Māori learner engagement and success in tertiary education and to identify from this understanding what factors have been key.
Furthermore, there are limited longitudinal studies focusing specifically on Māori learners’ experiences transitioning, entering and progressing in different tertiary education environments that are specifically focused on Māori learner progression and success at advanced levels of study.
Therefore, while a review of the current literature available enables a robust understanding of key institutional roles and elements crucial to facilitating Māori learner engagement and success in tertiary education, addressing these research gaps can only strengthen this important knowledge base.