Cultural influences on the retention of Pasifika students in an institute of technology trades programme

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Authors
Tawaketini, Jone
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Degree
Master of Educational Leadership and Management
Grantor
Unitec Institute of Technology
Date
2017-12-19
Supervisors
Howse, Jo
Tominiko, Falaniko
Type
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
Keyword
New Zealand
Pasifika students
technical and vocational education and training (TVET)
vocational education
Unitec courses
learning styles
success
technology education
talanoa (traditional method of face-to-face conversations)
student success
Citation
Tawaketini, J. V. (2017). Cultural influences on the retention of Pasifika students in an institute of technology trades programme. An unpublished thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Educational Leadership and Management, Unitec Institute of Technology, New Zealand.
Abstract
Pasifika success in education has been identified as critical for the future of New Zealand. In the tertiary institution, the sustainability for the retention of Pasifika students is seen as problematic because of the lower achievement rate. Research has identified that culture, family obligations language barrier and learning support are some of the key contributing factors. This study is set out to investigate the cultural influences that contribute to the retention of Pasifika students currently enrolled in an institute of technology trades programme. A qualitative methodology was used for this study. A semi structured interview was conducted with three Pasifika leaders in the trade programmes. There were two talanoa focus groups conducted, the first talanoa focus group included five Pasifika students and the second talanoa focus group included five Pasifika tutors. The data analysis revealed three major themes: (i) culture and family obligations influence the Pasifika students’ learning style during their educational journey, (ii) the recognition of the Pasifika students learning styles and providing academic support by the Pasifika tutors contributes to the retention of Pasifika students, (iii) providing sound leadership, effective communication process and a strong visibility of Pacific Centre. This research study suggests that although cultural influences contribute to the retention of the Pasifika students in the trade programme, the institutional support within the Pacific Centre is critical for the sustainable retention of Pasifika students. The recommendation arising from this research can be validated by the tertiary institute studied, however, it can have a genuine intention for other tertiary institutions and also the Ministry of Education for the improvement and sustainable retention of Pasifika students.
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