Knowledge society deeper divides and greater equality


Knowledgesociety deeper divides and greater equality

1.The recent past has seen the state of New Zealand employ efforts forbetter quality of education to its citizens and various groups oflearners. Amongst these groups are different ethnic groups andinternational students. The Maori – language ethnic group areamongst the first group to benefit from New Zealand’s efforts ofimproving education. According to New Zealand education report(2011), every learner from these groups has a right to access highquality education that meets their needs of culture, language andidentity. There are arrangements by the ministry for Maori languagein the education strategy. This will help guide in the ministry’sbusiness, investment as well as flourish within the education sectorand the wider community. Elsewhere, an ambitious goal to double thevalue of the international education sector by 2026 is underway.

Toreach those groups the government has put in place targets andmechanisms that will facilitate them. A critical role by thegovernment in setting policy conditions for Maori language to thrivein education is notable. The government every year investsapproximately $106million to support the Maori language through arange of programmes and services in education. The Government set outa 25-year vision for the future of Maori language in 2003. As forinternational learning, in 2010, a 4% increase from 2009 enrollmentfor international primary and secondary students was noted. 83,394international student enrollments to public and private tertiary andtraining institutions took place. Nine percent of all students areinternational in public tertiary institutions with their sourcecountries being China, South Korea, India, Japan and Saudi Arabiarespectively (New Zealand report, 2011).

Thepurpose of the educated and those groups in New Zealand as well astheir expected outcomes are playing an important role in achievingthe strategic economic growth goal. Through incorporating the Maoriethnic language into the education sector, more education prioritieswill be met. Effective education provision for children and the youngpeople as well as establishment of strong education systems will bepossible. With professional development of the language, moreemployment opportunities open. Students remain interconnected to theworld by developing their intercultural and global knowledgecompetencies. Similarly, international education apart fromgenerating significant to revenue for New Zealand provides jobs andcontributes to skills and labor supply to lift productivity. Itstrengthens New Zealand’s international ties and helps in a two-wayflow of capital, ideas and people according to the New Zealand’sreport (2011).

2.As compared to local students, ethnic groups and internationalstudents lack various issues that can affect their knowledge. Aresearch carried out on key features of change within the educationsector revealed that there has been little change in early literacy,numeracy school retention, truancy rates and completion rates foryoung students in tertiary schools amongst ethnic group students.Though there were some notable improvements, gaps between highperformance and low performance varies between local students andethnic group students (New Zealand report, 2011). Low performingstudents are likely to be the Maori students from low socioeconomiccommunities. Poverty thus is a circumstance that challenges educationin certain groups of students. On the other hand, issues likelanguage barrier and not cultural diversities were a major challengefor international students as compared to local students.International students are likely to have a challenging time adaptingto the new learning environment and dealing with a new culture.However, to deal with these differences, the government has put inplace measures that will minimize the challenges and improve thequality of education.

Thesystems provided to solve and deal with the imbalance of equityissues are improved learning opportunities such as increasedexpenditure on the education sector and culture integration forstudents to learn comfortably. Increased funding of the educationsector means increased qualified teachers and thus improved qualityof education. The educational expenditure makes the most effectivecontribution on education systems at all levels to ensure thatinvestment is rewarded with real and sustained achievements.Embracing the wide diversity of education and encouraging culturalintegration amongst learners is another way through which theeducation sector can minimize the challenges that internationalstudents encounter. Opening opportunities for learning in Maorilanguage across the education sector is another good example ofencouraging access to high quality education that attends to thelearner’s culture, language and identity.

3.A new solution that would be suitable in solving these issues isunderstanding that students are unique but come together to meet acommon goal which is quality education. Education is a weapon ofknowledge that offers greater equity and not a tool that bringsdeeper division. As a result, efforts put in place to improve thequality of education by the government like employing qualifiedteachers, encouraging cultural integration, should not tarry. Theyshould be used to reinforce more integration for learners to help NewZealand meet its strategic goal of economic growth. Quality educationif employed in the right way creates unity and aids in meetingstrategic goals. Collaboration, linkages, new technologicaldevelopments in network learning, enabling shared experiences andresources if incorporated will solve imbalance of equity issues inNew Zealand.


Ministryof education (2011). Briefingto the incoming minister, New Zealand education report, from inistry/PolicyAndStrategy/EducationBIM2011.pdf