Scott & Sarah Kennedy

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Choke Gasp Aaarg - from Real Issues, Maxim Institute

"Sing-a-long" a mockery

A tax-payer funded "sing-a-long" course raises issues about the accountability and strategic direction in New Zealand's tertiary institutions, as well as providing a good chuckle.

Tairawhiti Polytechnic in Gisborne has reportedly been paid $11 million of tertiary funding to provide a free eight week course to "enhance learning of Maori language". Students once enrolled are given their own waiata songbook and then asked to sing along with songs on the radio from the comfort of their own home.

Who is going to check that students sing? How will we know if they have sung correctly? What will constitute passing the course? No problem. There is no qualification at the end of the course, no external regulation, no record of pass rates and no record of whether people even complete the course.

An estimated one quarter of Gisborne's population was enrolled in the course last year. Minister for Tertiary Education, Steve Maharey has stated that he will act on these kinds of issues as soon as they come to his attention. In light of the projected $115 million "blowout" in funding for community education this year, the end of the "sing-a-long" could be near.


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