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Adrienne Hawkins-Kaiako from Te Wānanga o Aotearoa presents a prisoner with his certificate while Hawkes Bay Regional Prison’s Principal Adviser Rehabilitation and Learning Tony Denton looks on.

The first formal graduates of a Te Wānanga o Aotearoa literacy and numeracy programme are using their newfound reading and writing skills to continue further study. 

Six men received their Intensive Literacy and Numeracy programme certificates at Hawkes Bay Regional Prison in front of Corrections and TWoA staff. 

Each of the men progressed from Step 1 and 2 on the adult literacy and numeracy progressions scale to Step 3 or above. 

In literacy the progression means they can now read everyday words with ease. 

In numeracy terms they are now able to calculate simple equations and use tools for measurement. 

Corrections Manager Programmes and Interventions – Education and Training Fiona Hunter said nearly 65 per cent of the men and women in New Zealand prisons are below NCEA level 1 in literacy and numeracy. 

“This means they struggle to read and write,” she said. 

“Lifting the literacy and numeracy levels of prisoners is the primary goal of Corrections’ agreement with Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.”

Of the men who received their certificates, one is now studying through the Open Polytechnic. Another is studying Level 2 Certificate in Māori Studies through Eastern Institute of Technology and a third is using his new skills to better communicate in a medium intensity rehabilitation programme. 

Under the programme a typical learner receives 100 hours of tuition to help him or her progress to a higher step of literacy and numeracy skills. 

From there they will be better placed to transition into NZQA-recognised qualifications and gain the skills they need for employment. 

“Research has shown that participation in education and employment can significantly reduce the risk of re-offending, which is why this programme is so important,” says Ms Hunter.  

Tony Dowling, Innovation Development Group Director for Te Wānanga o Aotearoa says the ceremony marked an important milestone. 

“It’s the first formal recognition for the programme’s participants since it started late last year. As well as increasing the men’s literacy and numeracy, it’s also encouraged them to set positive goals for their future which ultimately will provide them with a strong foundation to participate fully in all aspects of family and social life including higher levels of education.”

John (not his real name) said he enjoyed the whole course; “I enjoyed learning about the Treaty, the Māori language and the vowels.”He also said he learnt more about things that he already knew including percentages and division. 

“I would like to learn more about Māori culture to support my family. I also want to help people with disabilities.”

The national Intensive Literacy and Numeracy programme was launched in Arohata Prison in October 2015. 

 Te Wānanga o Aotearoa secured an agreement to deliver programmes nationally and Methodist Mission Southern secured part of the agreement to deliver intensive literacy and numeracy programmes at Otago Corrections Facility.

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Article By: James Ihaka



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