Tertiary Update Vol 16 No 39
TEU launched its blueprint for repairing the damage to public tertiary education this week, saying the government needs to restore $1 billion of funding cuts.
Launched at the union’s annual conference, Te Kaupapa Whaioranga – the Blueprint for Tertiary Education outlines a series of steps New Zealand needs to take to rebuild its public universities, polytechnics and wānanga.
Students and opposition politicians welcomed the report with national student president Pete Hodkinson saying he strongly supports the message that the erosion of the public tertiary education system has to stop.
“We have a right to be angry about a series of unbalanced policy decisions that exclude potential students from having a realistic opportunity for life-changing tertiary education – including women students, older students and students with disabilities.”
The report calls for changes both to the way we fund tertiary education and to the way we govern and manage it. Recommendations include:
- Spending public, taxpayer funding on public education not private companies,
- Raising the parental threshold for student allowances to $74,000,
- Ensuring at least one third of seats on tertiary education councils are held by democratically-elected students, staff and community members,
- Setting an immediate maximum student: staff ratio for the sector of 19:1,
- Reducing the maximum allowable student fee rise to 2 percent,
- Establishing quarterly meetings between the Minister of Education and democratically elected leaders of the sector to discuss strategic direction and funding of tertiary education.
In the longer term, Te Kaupapa Whaioranga calls on the government to increase student allowances to 60 percent of the average wage and to set the student:staff ratio at 15:1.
One of the report’s authors, Dr Sandra Grey, says the current tertiary education system drives students to trade life-long debt, part-time work and contracted learning time for credentials and unknown jobs.
“Successive New Zealand governments have narrowed the purpose of New Zealand’s tertiary education system, underfunded the sector and fundamentally changed the way the public, students, staff, and institutional managers view tertiary education. We have moved from the belief that education is a public right accompanied by public responsibilities to the view that it is primarily a private good.”
Also in Tertiary Update this week:
- Workforce survey under way
Submissions on the government’s draft Tertiary Education Strategy (TES) close tomorrow. The strategy describes the Government’s strategic direction for tertiary education over the next five years and guides the Tertiary Education Commission’s investment decisions. it defines tertiary education as “a passport to success for individuals, and supports wider economic growth. Skilled and knowledgeable individuals are essential to the success of businesses and other organisations.” – Ministry of Education
Submissions to the Ministry of Education on the tertiary education minister’s proposal to remove democratically elected staff, students and community representatives from university and wānanga councils closed this week. The joint TEU-NZUSA-Academic Freedom Aotearoa online petition received over 1900 signatures.
On Saturday 16 November there will be a national day of action, calling for an end to rape culture with events in Auckland, Hamilton, Palmerston North, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin – The Hand Mirror
University staff across the UK will walk out for a second day of strike action on Tuesday 3 December. The three unions, UNISON, Unite and UCU, that took strike action on 31 October confirmed their members would walk out again and be joined by Scottish education union, the EIS, unless the dispute over pay could be resolved – UCU
Richer teenagers are three times more likely to go to top universities than working class pupils, even if they have the same grades, research suggests – BBC