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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 no. 10. 24 May 1972

Educational Whitewash

Educational Whitewash

The education system for instance has been used by the Pakeha majority as its most powerful instrument to assimilate the Maori and make him in his own image and likeness. The system denied a place in its curriculum for Maori language and culture and offered instead a monocultural programme derived from Euro-American culture. Worse still, the educational diet was and still limited to a narrow band of the social spectrum, the all powerful middle classes.

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Because of the mono cultural nature of the education system, there is incongruity between the social aims, goals and aspirations of the Maori and those of his educators. These incongruities mean the education system is dysfunctional for Maori children This dysfunction becomes evident when we look at the failure rate. Only one in thirty three Maori children reach the sixth form compared with the Pakeha rate of one in seven. Taking School Certificate as an objective measure of achievement, 88.5% of Maori pupils leave school with an educational achievement below that. At University Maori representation in proportion to population is 1: 1541 compared to 1: 185 for the Pakeha.

The Maori because of his poorer education is generally limited to employment of an unskilled type. Typically, he finds work as a labourer or factory worker. In the two major cities of Auckland and Wellington for example 39% of the Maori work force is to be found in manufacturing industries compared with 29.5% of the Pakeha population. At the 1966 census, the median income for Maori males was $1871 per annum compared with $2191 for the Pakeha.

The educational, social and economic disadvantages of the Maori are reflected in their higher crime rate compared to the Pakeha. The conviction rate for Maori males for instance is five times higher than that of the Pakeha. One Maori boy in four has a court appearance, these young offenders 90% left school before the fifth form. In 1966 29% of male and 42% of female prison and borstal inmates were Maoris.

Thus it is clear that when the Maori is evaluated in Pakeha terms he is not only an ethnic minority group, but constitutes a substantial sector of the socio-economically depressed class of New Zealand society as well.