Response to Government priorities in the Tertiary Education Strategy
ALEC is a niche provider of adult literacy and numeracy education set up in 2007 to meet the ongoing literacy and numeracy-focused goals and priorities of the government’s Tertiary Education Strategy (TES).
Key areas from the TES
Key areas from the current (2010-2015) TES that ALEC can deliver on for TEC include:
- Providing specialised qualifications and training, in particular the National Certificate in Adult Literacy and Numeracy Education (NCALNE), and related professional development for trades, vocational, and other tutors. This may extend to the NDipALNE as mentioned above.
- Raising the skills and knowledge of the current and future workforce to meet the labour market demand (Vision of Tertiary Education Priority 2)
- Improving literacy, language, and numeracy skills and outcomes from level one to three study through our NCALNE graduates and via our local Intensive Literacy Numeracy (ILN) programme in Taupō (TES Priority 4)
As a provider of professional development and training we have an indirect effect on:
- Increasing the number of Māori students enjoying success at higher levels (TES Priority 2) and increasing the number of Pacific students achieving at higher levels (TES Priority 3).
- Increasing the number of young people moving successfully from school into tertiary education (TES priority 5).
ALEC supports the initiatives and direction as set out in the TEC’s Adult Literacy and Numeracy Implementation Strategy (June 2012) and the priorities and goals associated with this are elaborated in detail in the strategy. Our professional opinion is that the entry level NCALNE (Voc) qualification is the ideal vehicle for promoting the national infrastructure for literacy and numeracy as well as the priorities, issues, and knowledge outlined in the strategy.
Our deliberately narrow focus recognises that literacy and numeracy development is an area of specialised knowledge and critical importance for New Zealand’s development both in economic and social terms. We endorse the TEC’s statement in the Strategy that: “Nothwithstanding the impact of embedding, [literacy and numeracy] professional development remains a key priority to ensure educators understand and apply best practice for the optimal benefit of their learners, particularly learners in the TES priority groups” (p.9).
Māori and Pacific
We are also conscious of the need to increase the number of Māori students enjoying success at higher levels and are committed to working with the various Wānanga and other Māori focused organisations to up-skill Māori educators in the area of embedded literacy and numeracy and NCALNE qualifications to assist them in addressing this priority from within Māori educational contexts.
With regards to increasing Māori and Pacific outcomes for participation and achievement we would be interested in discussing the following:
- Ways of further targeting our ALEG study grants towards priority special interest groups identified by the TEC. The ALEG grants fund a portion of the NCALNE (Voc) training that we deliver. In the past we have worked with the TEC to deliver to special interest groups including the NZ Army, Defence, Police, IHC, and the Department of Corrections. We would welcome TEC-led discussions with a focus on building capability for Māori and Pacific trades and vocational trainers and tutors.
We are not a Māori or Pacific organisation, but we have worked well with other organisations with a dedicated special character or worldview. We would welcome the opportunity to tailor our training towards these groups as an existing TEC preferred provider as per the TEC’s stated intent in the Literacy and Numeracy Implementation Strategy (June 2012, p.12).
Young learners and STEM
As noted, our focus is a deliberately narrow one and while there are opportunities to seek new funding, we believe that at this point that we should maintain our current direction, rather than diversifying into Youth Guarantee (YG) for example. However, we support the TEC’s direction with regards to Māori and Pacific, as well as for younger learners including YG, and in connection to STEM subjects.
From our side it is our professional and organisational opinion that practical approaches to embedding literacy and numeracy into all of these areas is critical to TEO outcomes and TEC outcomes at levels 1-3. In fact, if anything a shift to STEM subjects and emphasis on younger learners as well as Māori and Pacific makes it more important than ever for learners to develop their understandings of the underpinning literacy and numeracy skills as we move forward. Hence, the need for NCALNE (Voc) and related professional development will continue over 2013 and the next three years.
We are also now actively promoting the NCALNE (Voc) as the minimum standard for any tutors delivering training at levels 1-3. As the TEC requires courses at this level to be embedded, the NCALNE (Voc) is the default minimum qualification for demonstrating organisational capability at this level.
Also, there is at least anecdotal evidence that while much as been done with regards to building the capability of educators to embed literacy and numeracy at levels 1 – 3, there is also a high churn rate amongst trades and vocational trainers, as well as the need for ongoing, continued, and extended professional development of educators. We believe that there remains an ongoing market for the entry level NCALNE (Voc) as well as the need for a higher level NDipALNE to bridge the gap to graduate level programmes. Also, many vocational tutors who gain the NCALNE (Voc) want to go on to further study but not to graduate level.