New education brokers in demand across Pacific

Tātai Angitu e3@Massey team members Keri Cheetham and Jo Hopkirk with director Maree Brannigan

A new Massey University centre providing tailored education training, expertise and support to schools, organisations and communities in the Pacific region is winning contracts and awards.

Tātai Angitu e3@Massey’s new ventures include early childhood education partnerships in Timor Leste, a revamp of Tokelau’s education system, and a Manwatū-based Pasifika project.

Tātai Angitu translates from Māori as “linking opportunities” and e3 denotes its three core strands: education, efficacy and enterprise.

Director Maree Brannigan says the new entity, which is aligned with the Institute of Education, will innovate and extend services to a wide range of learning communities. The new team will work with academics in all five colleges on initiatives and partnerships in order to meet demands for new learning opportunities for individuals and groups.

“We’re keen to take the expertise within the University to the community, and to the world,” Ms Brannigan says. “Our work is about linking the knowledge we have to the needs of the wider community.”

Institute director Professor John O’Neill says Tātai Angitu “links the research and expertise of staff in the Institute to our local, national and regional communities.”

Although only in existence for eight months and focused mainly on establishment and relationship building, last month Tātai Angitu won the New Horizons for Women Trust’s Teupoko'ina Utanga Morgan Memorial Innovation Award for a Palmerston North project aimed at strengthening early literacy and numeracy learning in Pasifika settings.

Tātai Angitu’s early childhood sector leader Keri Cheetham says the purpose of the project is to increase opportunities for young Pasifika children and families to engage in early literacy and numeracy learning in culturally located and meaningful ways while enabling successful transition from early childhood education into school.”

Sally Roberts (second left) from Tatai Angitu e3@Massey receiving the New Horizons for Women Trust award in Palmerston North from Lemalu Sea Tini Tulitua, with Malamalama Moni teaching staff Poto Faaiuaso and Tavae Samuel

Early education strides in Indonesia

Ms Cheetham and a senior adviser from Massey’s International Office, Angela Drake, attended the launch in Indonesia last month of a joint partnership with UNICEF and New Zealand and the Indonesian government for early childhood care and education in which Massey is the preferred provider.

Pro Vice-Chancellor for the College of Sciences Professor Ray Goer also attended as part of Prime Minister John Key’s official delegation.

It was the first step in a four-year journey for 7,400 children in the Kupang District, East Nusa Tengarra, Indonesia, in support of the realization of the right of every child in Indonesia to receive quality early childhood education, says Ms Drake. The project includes literacy and numeracy programmes, supportive learning environments and play activities, as well as parenting programmes about childcare, nutrition, and how to help children get ahead with their learning goals. 

The pilot project will provide training for 200 childhood facilitators and 100 Indonesian government educators as a model that will help all early childhood centres across Indonesia to ultimately provide quality education to more than 16 million three to six-year-olds.

Keri Cheetham at the launch of the Early Childhood Education pilot in Indonesia talking to a local educator

Assisting Tokelau in education re-structure

In another major project Tātai Angitu is working with the Tokelauan government and the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs on stage two of a four-year plan to restructure Tokelau’s education policy and to invest in its teacher training and development.

Other projects include working with the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations in Niue on community development and knowledge in the local agriculture sector.

Tātai Angitu recently surveyed 400 secondary school principals throughout New Zealand about leadership development and will be involved in providing training in this area in accordance with responses. They are also working with the Ministry of Education to introduce its Strengthening Early Learning Outcomes (SELO) programme to South Island educators in Nelson, Marlborough and Tasman regions.

Ms Brannigan, a former national executive officer for Rural Education Activities Programme (REAP), says Tātai Angitu is an exciting new concept for Massey. She is looking forward to making connections with academics and staff from all disciplines to foster educational alliances and creative ways to enhance lifelong learning in the community and professional education sectors.

Executive team member Jo Hopkirk says the new unit is currently completing research on the broader educational needs of New Zealanders to identify where and how it can develop opportunities. “We want to promote the idea of education as a community-wide activity, not just a compulsory sector-based activity.”

“Working closely with Tāai Angitu really strengthens the links between theory, practice and educational transformations, which is what we are all about,” says Professor O’Neill.

“The Institute’s mission is focused on boutique professional preparation programmes, supported by research in key areas to improve equity in education. Tātai Angitu staff have deep expertise and rich experience in life-long and life-wide education.”

For more information or to contact Tātai Angitu e3@Massey: email or phone Jo Hopkirk on (06) 951 9174 or 021 657575.

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