Sunday, December 04, 2005

The painful politics of ignorance and education.

It seems that the bile is poring out of me at the moment, I’m not bitter……..honest (yeah right!). This issue to do with Te Wananga o Aotearoa (TWAO) is stunning - yes it has appeared before but the quote from Susan Cullen had me asking to for permission to use the C word.

“God sends waves and you have to learn how to surf them.”

”I would do the same again if given the chance.”

All this from someone who made $30 million net profit in five years out of education. I do hope she is as philosophical if she ever gets mugged, robbed or conned. This trite bitch deserves it.

The wananga went from approximately 6000 funded enrolments to more than 34,000 in three years. According to rough funding calculations the government should have given $180,000,000 dollars in 2003. Check out the figures here and here.

The total scam runs to over $74 million. Mahi Ora the main course involved is a simple school level course in how to get a job, its free, it can be done at home and here’s the clincher your kaiako (teacher) can be contacted on an 0800 number using the mobile provided. Oh and there’s a noho marae (learning weekend). So my guess is the bulk of the teaching is done by workbook/video/ audio tape and trusty phone server.

Fortunately for Susan Cullen she was not an employee of Te wananga. Had she been TWAO would have saved approximately $10 million a year. I can only wonder as to whether she ever has been an employee. The $30million made in profit could easily have bailed out Rotorua's Te Wananga o Aotearoa that apparently needed a $20 million subsidy.

The $74 million given to Cullen would have been enough to clear most if not all the debts for HE institutions in New Zealand or employ roughly 1100 teachers; the profits ($30m) from this venture alone could have employed close to 500 teachers on its own. That doesn’t take into account the extra $20m for TWAO Rotorua. In a country where most schools and tertiary/higher education providers are struggling to make ends meet and provide real bums in seats education; it seems absurd that any institution of any credibility could generate that much profit let alone afford to give it away. I would looooove to see the enrolment/pass ratio and please someone send me the curriculum now. This I have to see - the course that actually teaches itself requiring minimum resources. Well bugger me, strangely no one else in the country can do this in fact no one else in the world seems to be this good at education, that is apart from the internet Universities.

All this from a tertiary education provider that champions the concept of Maori values/methods in education and also claims to be a University when it isn't. Forget how much Brash and his mates will enjoy this dish and try and figure out if NZ Maori should laugh or cry.

Don't forget $30 million is the equivalent of $50 for every Maori in New Zealand. Better still about $150 dollars for every Maori kid. But get this, I reckon I could put an internet ready PC in every Maori household for $74million and still have change for a shed load of internet access - perhaps a years free dialup.

Just in case you missed this cuzzes and neffs, Susan Cullen won't be shelling out for any hangi for Tangata Whenua either. Most of the profits are tied up in holding companies and luxury properties no doubt where she wines and dines such lunminaries as...... Donna Awatere-Huata ?

Its no wonder Rongo Wetere didn't need to siphon off funds. When you can pay your kids this much and have your wife as a contractor who needs more ?

What does all this tell us ?

That if this amount of profit can be generated, then clearly the governement is paying too much for education and in particular Maori centred education. (erm not ! I do hope no one is really thinking this)
People in education cannot run their own affairs.
That Maori under the banner of Maori interests will grab what they can get and stuff their kin.
Tino Rangatiratanga once more scores a magnificent own goal.

I do hope the pepole on these courses did learn something useful otherwise it would have been a truly tragic waste.

Susan Cullen is an immoral and reckless a grifter working New Zealand’s conscience for all its worth.
This hands all the ammunition needed to those who maintain a less the flattering cultural stereotype for Maori. But the real criminal of the day has to be the fool who put the finance model in place that allows this to happen. Susan Cullen and TWAO only took what was made available to them. How the F**k can this happen in a modern world ?

Oh of course this will almost certainly mean that some pointy head in Wellington will create another piece of paper work for me to do next year.

P.S. TWAO if you do read this, please note that your intranet seems to be running a mirror for slashdot japan..........

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