Maori students' success at Witt

Maori leader at Witt Tengaruru Wineera
Maori leader at Witt Tengaruru Wineera

Maori students at Witt have topped the tables in the latest set of results.

The course completion rates for the polytechnic's first semester in 2013 have been released. The results show Maori students at Witt had the highest percentage of students finishing the courses they enrolled for.

Of the 2000 students at the campus last year, around 400 of them identified as being Maori.

Of those 400 students, 84 per cent completed the course they enrolled for, compared to 77 per cent of students across the whole polytech.

Since 2006 the completion rate for Maori students at Witt has risen from 16 per cent to the current 84 per cent.

While the polytech was above target in nearly all sections of its first semester completion rate results, it was the achievement of Maori that was most pleasing, Witt boss Barbara George said.

Ms George said the results illustrated the expertise and the dedication of staff at Witt's Te Wananga Maori.

"This really is a credit to them, and it's inspiring for Witt to see this and see it take flight so well." she said.

The 84 per cent of Maori students who completed their courses had studied a variety of things, including Maori performing arts, nursing and engineering.

Maori leader at Witt, Tengaruru Wineera, said increasing the course completion rates over the last seven years had not been an easy task, but the results made it worth it.

"It's wonderful and it makes me feel very proud of the students and proud of the capability of the staff at the wananga.

"They have been willing to try new things and to change what we do," Mr Wineera, the Paearahi of Witt, said.

A part of the change that has developed over the last few years involves tailoring learning, and even class times, to the needs of the students.

Mr Wineera said weekend classes had helped to attract and retain students.

Asking students with a family to study in the daytime and during the week was not always the best option, he said.

"They have a family to feed. They need to work too."

With that in mind he set about introducing classes that ran in the weekend.

"It's about being flexible and delivering different modes of learning. Not all students are the same," he said.

The tailored-learning programme was one Mr Wineera believed could work across the board at the polytech.

Ms George said she had been very impressed with the results Mr Wineera had produced and there was potential for his model to transfer to other areas of Witt.

Taranaki Daily News