Equity and curriculum policy in Aotearoa New Zealand: Challenges, opportunities, uncertainties

Year: 1994

Author: McKinley, Elizabeth

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Recent educational reforms in Aotearoa New Zealand have pursued concurrently both equity and choice as social goals. Although these two goals are somewhat paradoxical, Maori (indigenous) education has made some rapid advances under the reforms, especially in the field of curriculum development. Current curriculum reform has been primarily concerned with equity, especially in the area of Maori education. The writing of curriculum statements in Maori can be seen as being consistent with current political trends, as well as showing support for educational initiatives taken by Maori over the last decade or so. Only 10 years ago it would have been impossible for Maori to "speak" in this way, that is, through an official policy text in Maori. Yet it is the very same reasons that prevented Maori from speaking then that allow Maori to speak today.

While the writing of national curriculum documents in Maori appears to be equitable in supporting Maori language and cultural initiatives in education, the concept of Maori control of Maori education is still a long way from being realised. This paper outlines the background to current debates and development work in language, culture and curriculum documents, with specific reference to science education, in Aotearoa New Zealand.