Witt Maori arts course investigated
A course offered at Witt is under investigation after it was alleged students graduated without completing the required coursework.
The National Certificate in Maori Performing Arts (Level 4) had come under scrutiny after a complaint was laid with Witt in mid-May.
The Taranaki Daily News understands the complainant was one of the 222 students enrolled in the 2012 programme.
The complainant alleges two coursemates had graduated without completing the necessary work.
Witt chief executive Barbara George said an investigation was launched as soon as the complaint was received.
George said the institute took these matters "very seriously".
"As soon as we confirmed the integrity of the complaint which related to a 2012 class, a full and comprehensive independent investigation was launched and the NZQA and Tertiary Education Commission informed."
Last year, Waitara High School lodged a query regarding the allocation of student credits.
NZQA said an investigation was carried out in 2013 and there was "no evidence of non-compliance".
The qualification authority acknowledged it was aware Witt was working on the second complaint.
"NZQA and the Tertiary Education Commission are working closely as Witt undertake their investigation," a spokesperson for NZQA said.
"Witt has also brought in an independent auditor to investigate the concerns raised."
TEC acting chief executive Lara Ariell said the organisation was "working closely" with NZQA to support Witt as they investigated the complaint.
"Witt proactively approached TEC recently to advise of the complaint and to seek agreement with both TEC and NZQA on how they will approach the complaint," Ariell said.
She also said both TEC and NZQA were committed to ensuring tertiary education institutions were "well-managed and well-run".
"We're treating this matter seriously," Ariell said.
George said Witt was "very proud" of the tens of thousands of graduates who had attained their qualifications through the institute.
"As a result, we acted promptly and are engaged in a thorough process to get to the bottom of the complaint."
George said she was confident it was an "isolated incident".
The national certificate is offered under Witt's Maori Language and Culture umbrella and the year-long open entry course can be studied fulltime or part-time.
Fees are $259 for domestic students.
In Witt's 2014 handbook, it says the qualification is designed to "increase knowledge in the area of Maori performing arts".
"This aim is promoted through a wananga learning environment that is based on key marae located in the Taranaki region," the prospectus read.
Skills learned from the course will enable students to specialise in an "area of Maori performance, as well as providing scope for the extension of knowledge and skills in Maori performing arts".
Taranaki Daily News