Tertiary Update Vol 17 No 11
Tertiary education minister Steven Joyce is using threatened changes to university councils to bully the University of Otago to take more international students, says TEU national secretary Sharn Riggs.
Steven Joyce had accused the University of Otago of being ‘behind the eight ball’ at attracting international students.
Steven Joyce told the Otago Daily Times his concern over universities’ handing of international education was one reason for his proposed changes to university councils.
He was pleased with the direction University of Otago was taking, but it would have been preferable if it started ‘a bit earlier’.
Mr Joyce told the Otago Daily Times the university needs to do more if the government is to meet its aim of doubling the value of international education to $5 billion by 2025.
”They have lifted [the cap on international student numbers from 12% to 15%] and they are now determined to fill it, but there is a bit of catch-up to do.”
However Sharn Riggs says universities should be academically independent from ministerial bullying and if they believe fewer international students than the minister demands will have better education outcomes then they should be free to make that decision without their council’s independence being threatened.
“The minister needs to stop closing down discussion he does not want to hear.”
“The minister’s demand for international students,and the money they bring is an attempt to mask his public underfunding of universities with full fee paying students from other countries. If he restored funding cuts then universities would not need to sell themselves to stay afloat.”
The University of Otago’s vice-chancellor Harlene Hayne told the university council that international full-fee enrolments had dropped 3.7 percent this year.
The Otago Daily Times reports this is the third year in a row of declining international numbers at the University of Otago.
Also in Tertiary Update this week:
- New money for Māori innovation won’t cover cuts to Māori research
- UCOL staff given holiday but not pay rise
The university staff are right to be worried. Universities’ freedom, a status recognised for many centuries, is too precious to be prejudiced by over-the-top government directives without an extremely good reason – New Zealand Herald
The fact is that the numbers of debtors, the amount of debt, the amount of debt in default and the numbers of overseas based borrowers in default have risen under this government. These numbers will continue to rise because recent policy which beats up on students is a missed opportunity to address the real issue of student debt – NZUSA president Daniel Haines.
Enrolments at Aoraki Polytechnic are tracking closely to budget as the institution settles into its new academic year. Aoraki had budgeted for 756 full time equivalent students (EFTS) by the end of February, and ended up with 728 – Timaru Herald
Universities get tough on students who plagiarise or copy others’ work or buy essays from ghostwriters – New Zealand Herald