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No. 26 (March 1959)
– 56 –

CAN MAORIS MAKE MORE USE OF EDUCATION?

Conferences on Maori education were held at Rotorua, Auckland and Whangerei last October between school teachers, Maori welfare officers and some Maori leaders. The purpose of the conferences was to bring about closer co-operation between schools and Maori communities in the education of Maori children.

Conferences were attended by Mr K. I. Robertson, Officer for Maori Schools, and Mr W. Herewini, Acting Controller of Maori Welfare. Head teachers of many primary and secondary schools took part, as well as other educational experts.

As a result of the conferences, the Department of Maori Affairs has issued a bulletin to welfare officers, giving guidance in this educational work. Among the suggestions are:
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Encouraging the election of Maoris to school committees, also in Board schools.

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Encouraging Maori parents to go to school meetings.

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Encouraging invitations to school teachers to visit Maori communities.

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Encouraging Maori participation in kindergartens.

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Encouraging the formation of liaison committees bringing together staff from a post-primary school, teachers of contributing primary schools and local social workers. Such committees should try to improve homework facilities for the college pupils, bring more reading matter into the community and discuss future jobs with the pupils.

Not all the suggestions in the bulletin are new; in fact, welfare officers and teachers have been doing this work for many years. However, the conferences and the bulletin should strengthen the effort.

It is hoped that at a later stage the Departments of Education and Maori Affairs will issue a joint statement about this aspect of Maori education.