Competent learners happy with competent teachers

Posted By TEU on Sep 29, 2011 |


Tertiary Update Vol 14 No 36

Twenty-year-olds are largely happy with their tertiary teachers and education according to one of New Zealand’s most comprehensive investigations into our education system. For nearly two decades the New Zealand Council for Educational Research (NZCER)’s Competent Learners study has followed some 500 children from just before they started school. In 2009 those 500 children had become 20-year-old adults and NZCER returned to 401 of them to find out how they had fared since they left school and what they were gaining from current study and employment.

The study found that young adults who had studied since school (84 percent of this sample) were largely positive about their learning experiences. Most thought their course would be value for money. Around 70 percent thought their post-school teachers worked hard to make their subjects interesting, provided helpful feedback on progress and were good at explaining things. Around the same proportion also thought their study was developing their problem-solving skills, ability to plan their own work and written communication skills.

Seventy-one percent of the 20-year-olds expected to study or train for a qualification more than once in their adult life, with those solely employed or neither studying nor employed more likely to mention the need for on-going interest. Qualifications were seen as ways to gain new knowledge and skills, rather than for pay or status reasons.

The report’s author, Cathy Wylie, notes that the traditional model where the end of school marked the end of formal study has given way to further study—of some sort—being part of the post-school experience for most young people making their path into adulthood.

“The continuation of study post-school, which is rarely free, or as low-cost as school (70% of the young people at age 20 had a loan), raises some questions. Do we provide enough support for young people to make good decisions about the courses that will interest and develop them in ways that keep open or open doors for employment, further study and the ability to contribute to, and enjoy, life? Is every young person leaving school with the skills and knowledge to gain from post-school education, particularly those who leave without school qualification, or who have been disengaged in learning at school?”

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. Week of strike at CPIT brings mediation
  2. NMIT stopwork rejects offer
  3. Student membership bill passes amongst flurry of student opposition
  4. Teachers speak out for equal pay for work of equal value
  5. Last day to sign pay discrimination petitions
  6. Aoraki Polytechnic threatens course closures across South Island towns

Other news

TEU says profits at polytechnics are too high and need to be reined in. Overall, the polytechnic sector recorded a $90 million surplus last year and $70 million the year before. This is equivalent to about 8.3% and 6.9% of their income respectively – Radio NZ

In the first year back at work, Australian women who have had a child can expect to earn around four per cent less per hour on average than they would if they had not had a child, the research shows; this equates to $1,566 a year in foregone wages per person. Mothers are losing about $126 million per year in foregone wages across the workforce as a result – Australian Policy Online

Bay of Plenty Polytechnic students are struggling to get to morning classes on time because of the city’s bus schedule. Two architecture classmates at Bay of Plenty Polytechnic say Papamoa students are being disadvantaged because there isn’t an early bus that will take them into Tauranga – Bay of Plenty Times

Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce has warned protesting university students to keep their heads down lest they draw attention to their relatively privileged position in hard economic times – New Zealand Herald

The extent of New Zealand’s brain-drain has been revealed in a new study which shows only around two-thirds of doctoral graduates are employed in this country in the years immediately following their graduation – Sunday Star Times

Fiji’s military government has dramatically stepped up its harassment of trade unionists. Recently FTUC President Daniel Urai was arrested for holding an ‘illegal’ meeting. In February, Felix Anthony, General Secretary of the FTUC and of the Sugar Workers’ Union affiliated to the ITF and the IUF was taken from home by three uniformed military officers and subjected to threats – Labour Start

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