THE EDUCATION HANDICAP
MAORI YOUTH, by David P. Ausubel, Price Milburn, Wellington, 1961, 18/-.
This book by Professor Ausubel is the result of eleven months' field work in New Zealand in 1957–58 during the tenure of a Fulbright research grant. Dr Ausubel sets out to examine the aspirations of comparable groups of Maori and Pakeha adolescents in both an urban and rural environment.
There is an interesting table of I.Q.s in the book which gives point to the Department of Maori Affairs campaign to encourage Maoris to move from rural areas to towns and cities. This table shows:
|Number of Pupils|
|Form Age||Urban Sample||Rural Sample|
The table indicates that Maori children brought up in an urban environment, where living conditions are usually of a higher standard, make much better scores than Maori children from a rural
environment. It is often tacitly assumed in New Zealand that Maoris have a level of intelligence inferior to Europeans while many Americans make a similar assumption about the intelligence of Negroes. Amram Scheinfeld notes in his book, “You and Heredity”—“in any given section of the country the I.Q. average of Negroes are considerably lower than of whites. But also, in any given section, the environment of Negroes are relatively inferior. However, where the conditions for Negroes are better, their I.Q.s are higher (by at least seven points for those living in New York as compared with their relatives in the South). And where conditions for Negroes are good, their I.Q.s may average even higher than those of whites living where conditions are bad …”
We may safely assume that, as the living conditions of Maoris improve, the scores made by Maori children in intelligence tests will also improve, till the stage is reached where Maori children make the same scores as European children.
Dr Ausubel's investigations show that while the educational and vocational aspirations of Maori and Pakeha secondary school pupils are very much the same, the Maori child has much less chance of realising his aspirations. Dr Ausubel identifies various factors which stand in the way of Maori youths realising their aspirations. These are:
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The fact that Maori parents are less capable than their Pakeha counterparts of helping their children with appropriate vocational guidance.
Lack of communication between Maori parents and children.
A laissez-faire attitude towards their children's vocational careers.
Maori parents do not set a very good example in occupational matters.
Ambivalence about children leaving home.
Dr Ausubel sees racial prejudice and discrimination as the greatest problem facing New Zealand in integrating the Maori into New Zealand society. On the subject of vocational inspirations he writes: “Of all the factors impeding the implementation of Maori vocational inspirations, the problem of colour prejudice and discrimination is the most serious and potentially the most dangerous”. While it is true that there are employers who show racial prejudice it can be stated that the Department of Maori Affairs has never found any difficulty in placing any Maori youth in a position appropriate to his or her educational qualifications.
This theme of colour prejudice and racial discrimination runs right through the book. Dr Ausubel's verdict is that the state of race relations in New Zealand is bad and is getting worse. This verdict is so much opposed to most New Zealanders' idea of themselves that it is liable to be rejected out of hand as a distorted caricature. Before we reject Dr Ausubel's assessment, we should pause to search our hearts to be sure that there is not a substantial element of truth in what he says.
TE WHARE KURA
The third booklet in the series of Te Whare Kura has been issued to post-primary schools teaching the Maori language.
The new booklet is Nga Iwi o te Motu, traditional tales from the tribes. The stories were collected and adapted by the Advisory Committee of the Department of Education on the teaching of the Maori language, and they are delightfully illustrated by Ralph Hotere.
Another booklet of traditional Maori tales will be published this year.
Next year it is proposed to publish two more booklets. One will contain simple stories in language suitable for pupils beginning the study of the Maori language.
The Editor of The Whare Kura would like teachers and Maori scholars to send him stories he could use in his booklets, or if they have material he could use for stories, this too. would be welcome.