Education in Motueka: A New Vision

Our mainstream education system doesn’t resonate with, or meet the needs of all our students. Traditional schooling is actually a barrier to success for many of the young people in Motueka. A sector of students struggle to succeed, resulting in frustration, and hampered or even destroyed self-worth. The current ‘standard’ pathway to success (leaving high school to attend university and then working) doesn’t always appeal or work for everyone. We must promote alternative pathways to our tamariki that are equally as successful.  

Our young people need alternative education that can encourage them to think creatively, independently, and analytically. Alternative education can stop students being alienated. Individual learning plans can be established, and job and career options are widened.  

There are many students in our town who are identified as being in danger of dropping out of school entirely. These students need opportunities to get them back on track, to engage at a level where they can achieve.  

Imagine what impact we would have, if we had an education system which is rooted in community, which prepares you to connect into OUR uniqueness of Motueka. A diverse programme of learning, involving the wider community.  

Life education is vitally important for our young people. Things like parenting skills, financial numeracy courses, looking after our environment, healthy choices, developing self-esteem, and strategies on relating to others, are just some of the life skills that our current education system fails to offer.  

However, if we work together as a community these gaps could be filled. We have a community rich in knowledge, in practical and life experiences, who could be an inspiration and a source of education for our youth.  

For example, there could be literacy courses for those working with the youth aide officer, on restorative programmes. How about a ‘skill swap’, whereby a young person is paired with an older person to share their life skills. The older person learning how to navigate a smartphone, while the younger person learns how to cook, or learns basic forest skills. This would empower and benefit both generations. 

When we take education out of the box it’s been placed in (by things like NCEA) and treat it more holistically we are planting seeds to nourish the future of our community. 

When we invest in alternative pathways this ensures everyone can have a dream, and can have ambitions and aspirations. It gives everyone the tools and ability to be an asset to their community.