Lincoln Tan is the New Zealand Herald’s diversity, ethnic affairs and immigration senior reporter.

Staff of under-fire college can't teach in English

A student was told the only tutors available were either  Mandarin or Korean speaking. Photo / Thinkstock
A student was told the only tutors available were either Mandarin or Korean speaking. Photo / Thinkstock

An Auckland private training establishment is without teachers who can conduct classes in fluent English - despite a requirement its students speak the language.

Malaysian student Jane Chang said she was shocked to be told by the Traditional Chinese Medicine College of New Zealand to choose either a Mandarin or Korean-speaking lecturer.

Miss Chang said she could not register for the course as she spoke English, Cantonese and Malay.

"I have worked so hard to improve my English to meet New Zealand education standards, and was totally shocked to be told that I needed to know Korean or Mandarin to study there," Miss Chang said.

TCM College in New North Rd, Eden Terrace, offers diploma courses in subjects including acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and advanced traditional Chinese medicine. It had two-full time and six part-time staff and 14 international students.

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority, which last week released its review of the college, said it was not confident in the educational performance of the college.

The authority said it had no confidence in its educational performance and capability in self-assessment, and rated it "poor" for learning achievement, programmes, guidance, international student support and management of the college.

"The evaluation team has serious concerns about the college's academic processes," the review said.

"These include ... enrolling students who do not meet required entry criteria, undocumented record of prior learning, students enrolled without medical insurance, tutors working in a New Zealand education context and not teaching in the English language and students completing the remaining two years of a three-year diploma in one year."

The authority found an absence of English language testing in student files.

"One of two newly enrolled students required an interpreter to understand and respond to questions from the evaluators," it said.

"The evaluators heard ... some classes were being delivered in Korean, although the website states that all classes are taught in English."

The review said because students were required to complete their assessments in English, they may be disadvantaged by being taught in Korean.

"The clinical tutor, who was also a past student, required an interpreter for discussions with the evaluators, which was of some concern," the report said.

Last year, the college, which was registered in 2005, withdrew an application to offer a degree in acupuncture.

Staff said director Myoung-sik Kim was overseas, in Korea, and referred us to the college manager.

The manager said he had been employed for less than a month, "had not been briefed" about what was happening at the college and requested not to be named. He said nearly all its present students were from Korea and "understood better" when lecturers taught in Korean.

- NZ Herald

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