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Pacific people shouldn't turn a blind eye to poor-quality education

26 January 2018

Posted in: Pacific Radio News,

By Mabel Muller -

A Samoan film-director and actress says Pacific people need to speak out when Pacific education providers aren't up to standard.

Sima Urale was contracted to work for the Pacific Institute of Performing Arts (PIPA) under Auckland's BEST Pacific Institute of Education.

Urale's niece was enrolled in a tourism course under BEST, and says it wasn't up to scratch.

She says Pacific people shouldn't turn a blind eye to poor-quality education. 

"For our people it's really important to speak out when our young people go on to these courses. If they're not doing their stuff properly, complain, shout it out and speak out because it's so important."

BEST Pacific Institute of Education. Photo/ Google.

BEST went into liquidation early last month after the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) cut its funding for 2018.

A report released earlier this month revealed that BEST incorrectly extended course end dates in 2013, allowing student completion rates to be manipulated. 

TEC manager of monitoring and crown ownership Dean Winter says the effect of their inaccuracies is that it improved the apparent levels of their performance.

"That was material in the decision-making to their future years' funding. They probably wouldn't have been funded into the years afterwards, had we known."

The investigation further included BEST was not providing all the teaching hours for which it was funded.

Winter says despite their  findings, they have not doubted the quality of education BEST provided.

"The outcomes for the students are not in question. This was a question of BEST's financial management and their ability to sustain the delivery of the education."

Urale says however, there were multiple instances when her niece would be sent home early due to an absent tutor. 

"It got to the point where me and mum had to go up with my niece to BEST training's offices and say, 'Hey where's your schedules?' and she said 'Oh we don't really have a schedule'."

"We pulled her out because I was so horrified."

Sima Urale. Photo/ PRN.

Urale regrets not doing something about the institute then, but says she's now vocalising the issue and hoping other Pacific people do the same when they encounter the same thing.

"I think there was probably a problem with this provider many many years ago and maybe no one gave voice to it," she says. "That's why I'm prepared to follow up and say it's not good enough."

"If we let down our youth at that most crucial time, they find it harder to pick up the pieces later. People need to speak up and not be shy."

Tags: education,