TEU survey leads to new online complaints tool

Posted By TEU on Nov 10, 2017 | 2 comments


Tertiary Update – Vol 20 No 34

A new online tool that staff and students can use to register complaints or concerns about tertiary education organisations launched this week, and follows in the wake of a Tertiary Education Union (TEU) survey that showed increased pressure on staff to change grades.

The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC), the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) and Universities New Zealand are trialling the tool as a way of encouraging staff and students to come forward, anonymously if necessary, with any complaints or concerns they have about working or studying in the sector.

Earlier in year the TEU published the results of a survey into staff wellbeing that showed reforms introduced under the previous government had increased pressure on staff to change grades, dedicate less time to teaching and change admission rules.

More than two-thirds of respondents said they felt pressured to pass students in order to meet targets set by the National-led government, while others said they were experiencing higher levels of stress, unsustainable workloads and were feeling more alienated from their jobs compared to a decade ago.

At the time of the survey’s publication, the fear of speaking up was so great that many staff had to speak anonymously about their experiences to broadcasters, or comment on media websites.

Extensive media coverage of the revelations pressured the TEC and NZQA into asking staff to contact them so assessment practices could be investigated.

“We are pleased to see that the TEC, NZQA and Universities New Zealand have taken on board the findings of our survey and provided this new online tool. Staff and students will be pleased to know that their concerns will be taken seriously and that they can speak out about bad practices without fear of being reprimanded,” Sandra Grey, national president of the TEU, said.

The TEC, NZQA and Universities New Zealand have not gone any further than launching the tool to outline changes they plan to make so that staff and students do not have to fear speaking up in their own institutions in future.

“Supporting government plans to make sure staff and students have a strong voice in the decision making process at each institution is an absolute necessity,” Grey said.

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. Vocational education at crisis point
  2. New government brings hope for tertiary education
  3. Power imbalance between working people and employers must be addressed
  4. TEU celebrates Living Wage week

Other news

National’s flawed pay equity Bill was officially dropped on the first day of Parliament – TVNZ

The University of Auckland’s Faculty of Arts is launching a new Public Policy Institute – UoA

Otago Polytechnic has refreshed its Bachelor of Applied Science degree to focus more on project-based learning – Voxy

The Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki is launching a level 5 Diploma in Digital Media and Design and a level 3 Certificate in Digital Media and Desgin – WITT

The Open Polytechnic has signed an agreement with Christchurch City Libraries to upskill its staff with a range of Library and Information Studies qualifications – Open Poly

The Primary ITO has confirmed that Taratahi will be the provider for dairy, sheep, beef and deer courses in Otago and Southland – Primary ITO

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2 Comments

  1. I wouldn’t hold out much hope for this new tool. I brought complaints of the type the Universities NZ, the TEC, the NZQA claimed to be soliciting but was fobbed off at every turn.
    they don’t really want to know.

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  2. To me it sounds like a really good idea if (cf. comment above) the issues will be followed up. In my view too much currently happens behind closed doors in NZ HE institutions.
    It would also be good to be able to report workplace harrassment of female staff, which anecdotal evidence suggests to me is still much too prevalent in NZ. When unchecked by internal HR processes, such behaviours can ruin the female staff member’s success in her chosen profession, and lead the institution to ‘shoot itself in the foot’ on external measures.

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