The man behind a court challenge to Otago University’s medical school admissions scheme is getting support from other parents whose children missed out.
University leaders say they will “strenuously oppose” the legal challenge and limiting special category entrants would “slow the rate at which a representative health workforce could be achieved”.
If your only criteria is acheiving a representative health workforce, then why not reserve 100% of places for the next decade until you acheive that?
Otago University’s pro-vice-chancellor of Health Sciences, Professor Paul Brunton earlier said the university had an obligation to train health professionals equipped to meet the needs of New Zealand’s diverse communities.
“Māori comprise only 3.4 per cent and Pacific people 1.8 per cent of the medical workforce, whereas the proportion of the total population who identify as Māori and Pacific is, respectively, approximately 15 per cent and 8 per cent,” he said.
And I would have no problem with a quota to ensure 23% of medical students are Maori or Pasifika, which over time would ensure a representative workforce. But what Otago has goes well beyond that:
For the 2020 intake, 120 of the 202 places available to first year Health Sciences students went to those entering under special categories. Of those, 79 (39 per cent) were Māori and Pasifika. There is currently no limit to the proportion of the places available for special category students.
So 60% of places are reserved for those who meet a quota category, and 40% went to Maori and Pasifika – almost twice their proportion of the population.
The man, who asked not to be named, said his child completed the health sciences course at Otago University last year straight from high school. The student achieved A+ grades for the requisite papers and a UCAT (an intelligence/suitability test) result above the 90th percentile. His child was denied entry.
Māori and Pasifika applicants were accepted for 2020 with B- averages and no consideration of UCAT scores.
So the student who missed out got straight A+ and was deemed in the top 10% in terms of suitability.