New Minister must reform tertiary education for the benefit of all Kiwis

Posted By TEU on Oct 26, 2017 | 0 comments


Tertiary Update – Vol 20 No 32

Rebuilding the tertiary education sector into one that benefits us all is an urgent priority for the new government and the Tertiary Education Union has published a briefing setting out the reforms that must be put in place.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced yesterday that she was appointing Chris Hipkins as the new Education Minister.

The new Minister will be responsible for overseeing all levels of education policy for the first time since the late 2000s, when a separate tertiary education portfolio was created under Michael Cullen.

The Prime Minister also appointed Kelvin Davis as Associate Minister for Māori Education and Jenny Salesa and Tracey Martin as Associate Education Ministers.

Providing a way forward for an accessible public tertiary education system, the TEU’s briefing makes a series of recommendations that will enable the new Minister to reverse years of National’s underfunding, ensure our communities have access to quality learning opportunities, change the rules so staff and students have a voice in workplace decisions, increase student support and improve pay and conditions.

“The change of government has brought some hope for the future of our sector and the thousands of dedicated staff that work tirelessly to give our students the best possible learning experience,” Sandra Grey, national president of the Tertiary Education Union, said.

Recommendations include immediately scrapping National’s damaging Education Amendment Bill and over the next three years ditching the competitive model and student achievement component of funding and replacing it with planned and managed funding.

The TEU is also calling on the new Minister to restore a strong staff, student, and community voice to university, wānanga, and polytechnic councils. Councils of between 12 and 18 members are proposed: one third for ministerial appointments (to include iwi and crown representatives); one third expert and community representatives; one third staff and student representatives democratically elected by their constituencies.

Other recommendations include scrapping Performance Based Research Funding, ending the obsession with narrow performance metrics and increasing student allowances by at least $50 per week.

“TEU members will be working hard over the next three years to hold the new government to their promises. Staff will be want to see Chris Hipkins move quickly to deliver the change required for an accessible, fully-funded public tertiary education system that supports staff and student well-being. The recommendations we have published today set out a plan for exactly this,” Grey added.

The TEU has written to the new Minister requesting a meeting at the earliest opportunity to discuss these recommendations in full.

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. Ardern promises to prioritise working people in first 100 days
  2. Unions take significant step to advance Te Tiriti relationship
  3. “Grab the opportunity” to demand change, CTU president tells unions
  4. A letter from the NZCTU conference

Other news

The Tertiary Education Commission has published information on its review of how to lift the tertiary education sector’s capability to embed literacy and numeracy in foundation-level education –TEC

The Australian Government has shelved plans that would have doubled or tripled tuition fees for New Zealanders – RNZ

The new Health Minister David Clark said that proposals for a third medical school would likely be put on hold for a reassessment – ODT

Otago Polytechnic is to offer a Bachelor of Visual Arts programme at its central campus from next year – Voxy

The Manukau Institute of Technology is setting up a new police pre-training programme – Newshub

The University of Canterbury will open its new science centre next month – Stuff

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