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Critical Examinations of Quality in Early Education and Care

Regulation, Disqualification, and Erasure

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Edited By Gaile S. Cannella, Michelle Salazar Pérez and I-Fang Lee

Quality rating systems discourses and practices are increasingly dominating early childhood care and education around the globe. These rating systems are constructed with the assumption that universally appropriate environments can be constructed for all those who are younger. This deterministic, ratings, and measurement oriented perspective is consistent with neoliberal discourses that privilege competition, accountability, consumer materialism, and notions such as human capital; this contemporary neoliberal condition does not support concern for the common good, democracy, equity, justice, or diversity (unless the support can facilitate new forms of capitalist gains). Ultimately, this is not a positive situation for those who are younger. The chapters in this book have two goals: (1) to provide the reader with an opportunity to engage with some of the specific problems that result from putting forward ‘quality’ as a dominant construct, and (2) to generate conversations and locations from diverse knowledges and multiple ways of being that could lead to the rethinking of quality, understandings of quality as a narrowing construct/practice, and/or going beyond (and outside of) notions of quality.
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Chapter Four: The Determinants of “Quality” in Aotearoa/New Zealand: Māori Perspectives

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CHAPTER FOUR

The Determinants OF “Quality” IN Aotearoa/New Zealand

Māori Perspectives

MERE SKERRETT



Ko te reo te mauri o te mana Māori (The language is the life force of the mana Māori.)

—SIR JAMES HENARE (WAITANGI TRIBUNAL, 1986)

INTRODUCTION

The right of indigenous children in Aotearoa/New Zealand to early childhood care and education (ECCE) validating their language and culture was mandated through the New Zealand Ministry of Education’s (MOE) promulgation of a national curriculum framework Te Whāriki; He whāriki mātauranga mo- ngā mokopuna o Aotearoa: Early childhood curriculum (MOE, 1996). That framework supports an identifiably Māori curriculum which in turn maintains the Māori language and its cultural mores, its distinctive world views, its unique pedagogical principles and practices and the intergenerational transmission of Māori knowledge, skills, attitudes for children in early childhood settings (MOE, 2009). That the education sector agencies, as Crown agents, have obligations “… to actively protect Māori language as a taonga guaranteed under the Treaty of Waitangi” (MOE, 2013a) is the mantra of the current MOE and reflected in its policy documents. For example, in the Briefing to the Incoming Minister, it states “Every Māori learner has a right to access high quality education that attends to their identity, language and culture” (MOE, 2011a, p. 33). Phase one of the Ka Hikitia strategy Ka Hikitia—Managing for Success...

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