Government plans announced today to build a truly inclusive, accessible and high quality public education system, overhauling the way future generations of Kiwis are taught, will require government, staff, students, iwi, and community groups working together to ensure we get the changes we need.
The Tertiary Education Union (TEU) welcomed the Government’s new education work programme and said it provides an opportunity to end the crisis facing tertiary education. Reforms introduced by the previous National government have wreaked havoc on the sector, forcing courses to close, jobs to be lost, and essential campus services to be shutdown. The new work programme gives future students hope that they can develop skills, learn trades, and create knowledge in a truly public tertiary education system that will empower them to fulfil their potential and lead good lives.
Plans put forward in the work programme include reforming the institute of technology and polytechnic (ITP) sector and a full review of the flawed Performance Based-Research Fund (PBRF), two recommendations the TEU put forward in its briefing to the new Minister last year. The plan will also focus on raising achievement for Māori and Pasifika learners, work that will require a strong focus on tertiary education.
Sandra Grey, national president of the Tertiary Education Union, said:
“It is clear to me that despite our day-to-day concerns as staff or students or managers, there is a strong consensus on the major issues of importance for tertiary education. It is now down to us as a sector to work together for the changes we need. People also need to tell politicians that this is a big issue and that come the next election they will be judged on whether this three year plan has delivered genuine change for education.
“We congratulate the Minister and his team for putting forward a potentially transformative plan for the future of education. It has come about because we finally have a government that will listen to what staff and students have been saying for years. The plan provides a strong sense of the direction the government would like to go in. However, Ministers cannot fix the crisis facing tertiary education alone. We all have a role to play in making this work.”