Students, staff, and Vice-Chancellors have come together to call on the Minister for Education, Chris Hipkins, to work with the sector to change the existing funding model for tertiary education.
Representatives at the Voices from Tertiary Education forum on 9 March 2018 at the Victoria University of Wellington called for the change as part of a wide ranging statement that sets out a series of recommendations for the reform of universities. The recommendations call on the Minister to:
- work with students, staff and sector leaders to co-design an improved funding model;
- bring together students, staff, business, iwi, local communities and institutional leaders at regular forums to discuss a long-term plan for the tertiary education sector;
- work with the Minister of Finance, Grant Robertson, to develop a framework to better measure the huge contribution tertiary education makes to society;
- to ensure the next Tertiary Education Strategy provides pathways and financial support at all levels for staff and students to learn and teach Te Reo Māori.
A copy of the statement has been sent to the Minister for Education and the Tertiary Education Commission.
Sandra Grey, National President of the Tertiary Education Union, said:
“It is really positive to see students, staff and vice-chancellors working together, digging deep into analysing the problems facing the university sector and putting forward practical solutions. There is a shared view across the sector that the existing funding model is compromising delivery of quality, accessible tertiary education. The Minister needs to get us all around the table so we can get this sorted and focus on what we’re all here to do – that is to give students the best possible learning experience at their chosen institution.”
Grant Guilford, Vice-Chancellor of the Victoria University of Wellington, said:
“This statement signals our commitment to working with government, students, staff and sector leaders to ensure universities are in the best possible place locally, nationally and globally to deliver for all New Zealanders. Part of this is about improving the existing funding model so universities can be better supported to focus on what we do best – providing quality education and research to a broad range of learners. I was really pleased to be part of the forum and think it provides a valuable model going forward for how we can all work together to co-design the university sector of the future.”
Jonathan Gee, President of the New Zealand Union of Student Associations, said:
“Making sure universities work for a diverse range of learners, including Māori, Pasifika, second chance learners, sole parents and mature students, is vitally important. To make it happen, we have to make sure there are minimal financial, physical, cultural and generational barriers to learning. Students and staff also have to be at the heart of all planning and decisions in the sector. The statement we agreed provides the Minister with a way of making this happen whilst also ensuring the funding model is improved to better meet the needs of all learners, employers, staff, and local communities.”