Predictably, tertiary institutions with higher numbers of part time students, extramural students, older students and second-chance learners rank poorly compared to other universities, polytechnics and wānanga in today’s Tertiary Education Commission league tables.
“But, that says nothing about their actual performance,” says TEU national secretary Sharn Riggs. “It just says they started with the students who have to travel the longest journey.”
“Education should be about giving everyone a chance to do something good, for themselves, for their families and their communities. League tables like those released today simply tell institutions and their prospective students that we measure success not by how far you come but how far in front you start before the journey even begins.”
“It will be interesting to see, now that the government has its much vaunted ranking of tertiary institutions,” says Ms Riggs, “whether it responds by giving those institutions at the foot of the tables the support they need to keep helping their students achieve, or if it now abandons them to face public scrutiny alone.”
TEU is worried that if students and the public look at these tables without the context of knowing what individual institutions are trying to do, all they will see is irrelevant comparisons and bad measurements. Institutions that are working hard in their local communities will take an unnecessary, and undeserved, hit to their reputation from which it will be hard to recover.