Whitireia and Tonga: cooking in someone else's kitchen

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Two Whitireia staff members, Heather Thompson and Jane Spears,  visited Tonga at the end of June as part of the growing educational link between Whitireia Community Polytechnic and Tonga's Tupou High School. This joint venture is an initial step toward establishing a tertiary qualification base within Tonga.

The purpose of this most recent visit was to deliver the polytechnic's Certificate in Adult Teaching to staff running tertiary-level courses in Tonga. Heather Thompson and Jane Spears likened the experience of teaching in a different context to 'cooking in someone else's kitchen.' Maintaining flexibility and resourcefulness allowed the course to run well within a Tongan context.

Tertiary-level programmes are currently being run in Tonga with accreditation and support from Whitireia. The New Zealand Diploma of Business began last year and is offered in a new $600,000 Business and Computer Education Centre, opened by King Tauafa' Ahau Tupou IV in May. It was joined by the Certificate in Business Computing this month. The educational link allows students access to higher study within their own cultural context, as well as the possibility of a career based either at home or abroad.

Deirdre Dale at Tupou High School 1999

Whitireia chief executive Deirdre Dale visiting Tupou High School last year, with principal the Rev Alifeleti 'Atiola