Lifting Maori adult literacy and numeracy critical for New Zealand’s future

28 March 2014

Diana Coben

Raising skills: Professor Diana Coben is director of the National Centre of Literacy and Numeracy for Adults.

The development of a strategy to lift Māori adult literacy and numeracy is proposed as part of a consultation round underway by the National Centre of Literacy and Numeracy for Adults, based at the University of Waikato.

An international survey completed in New Zealand in 2006, found that 70 percent of Māori adults did not meet minimum world standards for literacy and numeracy. Centre Director, Professor Diana Coben says as Māori continue to become a much larger part of New Zealand’s workforce, the future wellbeing and prosperity of New Zealand will be dependent on the ability of all New Zealanders to participate fully in society.

Identifying key priorities

Over the next three months a series of hui will be held in Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington and Rotorua to engage with employers, iwi and Māori organisations, community groups and educators to identify the key priorities. Individuals and groups are invited to provide their views though the National Centre website.

The strategy will enable better and more informed decision making on policy, planning and resourcing to support Māori adult literacy and numeracy initiatives.

Committed to partnerships

Professor Coben says the Centre is fully committed to working in partnership with iwi and Māori organisations, employers and community groups to support literacy and numeracy initiatives. “Much has been done through government supported initiatives over the last five years, but cohesion and collaboration are key for developments moving forward.”

Project Coordinator Keith Ikin said that the growth of the Māori economic base over the last five years has been significant, but future growth will be dependent on a Māori workforce with high level skills and expertise, innovating and developing value added options for our exports to markets around the world, he says.

For further information please visit the National Centre website:

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