Lincoln University at last says it, too, includes Maori knowledge in its science classes

Lincoln University administrators did some consulting before answering questions first sent to them on September 21.  They finally answered the questions – about the incorporation of matauranga Maori in science classes – earlier this month but won’t say who was consulted.

The short answer is yes, it is incorporated in their science classes.

  1. Is Maori knowledge incorporated in science courses, at Lincoln University

Yes.

 2.  If so, when was it introduced to science courses, why was it introduced, and is it incorporated in all science courses or just some?

Maori knowledge content began to be introduced into some courses at Lincoln University from around 2005 by individual lecturers who were motivated to do so.  Currently some courses available in 2018 have Maori knowledge content.

The university has been somewhat sparse with the information it provided and is not disclosing the identities of the people whom it consulted after insisting Bob Edlin’s questions be dealt with under the Official Information Act.

All other universities approached for information had replied by early November.  All but the University of Auckland said yes, they did incorporate Maori knowledge in science as well as other courses. Continue reading “Lincoln University at last says it, too, includes Maori knowledge in its science classes”

Lessons from a Nobel Prize winner on the role of government in innovation

New York University professor Paul Romer, who shared this year’s Nobel Prize for economics, documented, quantified and confirmed the assumption that innovation leads to economic growth.

In its announcement, of the award, the Nobel Prize committee said Romer and William Nordhaus “have designed methods for addressing some of our time’s most basic and pressing questions about how we create long-term sustained and sustainable economic growth.”

Romer’s work has focused on confronting the rapid pace of technological change by showing how knowledge can function as a driver of long-term economic growth.

It’s great to have this affirmed because politicians inevitably bang on about the great boost to economic growth they are generating when they announce they are pumping more public money into science, research and innovation.

But as this article in Fortune points out, Romer did more.
Continue reading “Lessons from a Nobel Prize winner on the role of government in innovation”

Science Board approves $422.5m further investment – but progress report is kept secret

Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods went public at the weekend to welcome news that New Zealand’s 11 National Science Challenges have received $422.5m in a second tranche of funding.

Her statement can be found on the Scoop website but, curiously, not on the Beehive website.

Her most recent statement on the Beehive site (released yesterday) is headed Surge funding for kauri dieback and myrtle rust research.

The one before that, dated November 8, is headed Critical research being funded via Marsden Fund.  Then she said New Zealand’s top researchers will be able to investigate critical issues and build knowledge across the board supported by $85.64 million over the next three years.

The statement posted at Scoop deals with a much bigger lump of public money.  In this  she said the Science Board, which is responsible for investing Government funds in research, science and technology,

” … approved the second tranche of funding bringing the total investment to $680.8m following a positive mid-way review.” 

Alas, the review is being kept under wraps which means we have only Woods’ word for it that the review was positive and that therefore the second chunk of this investment is justified.
Continue reading “Science Board approves $422.5m further investment – but progress report is kept secret”

Marsden Fund dishes out $85.64m of grants – and we can’t wait to read the research reports

Want to know what counts as a “critical issue” when public funding is dispensed, through the Royal Society of New Zealand, to the country’s top researchers?

You can get an idea from the titles of the successful projects in the latest round of grants.  They include –

  • The Best of Times, the Worst of Times: A Biocultural investigation of 19th century Frontier mining cemeteries in Australia, New Zealand and California;
  • Sensitive Negotiations: Indigenous Diplomacy and British Romantic Poetry;
  • The Natural History of Film Form: Film Aesthetics through Animal, Vegetable and Mineral Matter;
  • Legal cannabis for sale: home-grown or supermarket?
  • Embodying the law: Manhood and authority in the making of English legal culture c.1300-1600.

Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods announced the successful projects yesterday (almost 90% of the applications missed out), saying the country’s top researchers will be able to investigate critical issues and build knowledge across the board supported by $85.64 million over the next three years through the 2018 Marsden Fund round. Continue reading “Marsden Fund dishes out $85.64m of grants – and we can’t wait to read the research reports”

How the supernatural is being merged with science for Kiwi students

Defending a column he wrote for Stuff earlier this year, scientist and cartoonist Bob Brockie claimed there is no place for the Treaty of Waitangi in scientific endeavour. When several academic big-wigs challenged and chided him, he wrote in a subsequent column he was unrepentant.

The treaty is a political document and politics has no place in science which transcends nation, race, culture, and political perspectives”.

Moreover, Brockie challenged the merging of the humanities with science.  In the humanities, he contended, ambiguity is okay.

“There are few rules or laws – everybody can make up their own rules and laws. In science, ambiguity and the supernatural are anathema… As I see it, science and the humanities are parallel universes, each with different assumptions, motives, values, methods, standards and expectations. Very little traffic passes between these ideologies. What does travel is almost exclusively from science to the arts.”

Many science students nowadays nevertheless are being instructed in Matauranga Māori , or Māori knowledge, and the cultural and spiritual belief system in which it is grounded.   Continue reading “How the supernatural is being merged with science for Kiwi students”

VUW science teachers are encouraged to learn about mauri and other Māori belief concepts

A concept rooted in Māori spiritual belief – mauri – is widely used in environmental research, monitoring, and restoration work in New Zealand. It has been absorbed within university studies, too, and mātauranga Māori is being taught in science courses.

Victoria University of Wellington “encourages” its staff and students to teach, research and learn about mātauranga Māori as part of their studies.

Faculty of Science staff have not been exempted from this institutional acculturation.  They

” … have been actively participating in the University’s Te Hāpai professional development programme, which helps them to learn more about Te Reo Māori, tikanga Māori and the Treaty of Waitangi. We have found that as people learn more about the Māori culture they become more comfortable and confident about teaching Māori material.” Continue reading “VUW science teachers are encouraged to learn about mauri and other Māori belief concepts”

Sir Ernest Rutherford today could go to university and learn how to synthesise his science with Māori belief

A warning about pseudoscience threatening to take hold of New Zealand if curious children don’t pursue science in schools is sounded today in an article on the Stuff website. 

House of Science chief executive and founder Chris Duggan is quoted as saying primary teachers don’t have the confidence to teach students science because of inadequate training and a lack of resources,

The extent of the threat to science teaching had become ominously plain a few days earlier in an item headed Schools to axe core subjects as shortage of specialist teachers reaches ‘crisis point. This report says secondary schools across the country could be forced to drop subjects as a teacher shortage becomes critical.

A lack of applicants for teaching positions in core subjects such as mathematics, science and technology is forcing schools to encourage older teachers out of retirement to teach, or use untrained teachers teaching students. Continue reading “Sir Ernest Rutherford today could go to university and learn how to synthesise his science with Māori belief”