Experts from the tertiary education sector attended the Government’s recent Education Summit in Auckland. Here, a couple of the Tertiary Education Union members that were there reflect on how the summit went.
Bill Rogers, Te Tumu Arataki, TEU National Vice President Māori
A very well organised and successful event where we could network and find out what was on top for educators. Reflected the success of Kura-ā-Iwi and the kaupapa of hauora / well-being, whakawhanaungatanga, family, community, Te Tiriti o Waitangi, respect , diversity, creativity and manaakitanga Awhi/caring for others. He mahi nunui i mua i a tātou (a major effort is ahead of us all).
Tina Smith, Senior Lecturer in Nurse Education, Universal College of Learning
Bringing together 800 people who will go back to “spread the conversation’ to try to engage 80,000 is an interesting and potentially useful way to support consultation.
While the mixed conversations were beneficial at one level, there was a lack of focus on how people could work together to create change and little focus on tertiary.
The summit could have been strengthened by
- Revealing at the start (or at least on the first day) that attendees were to go back to “seed” and spread the conversation
- Providing more resources and ‘how to’ on the 2nd day to ensure that this conversation does spread
- Allowing more time / focus on exploring what change may look like and how to effect such change
- Allowing some time for the different sectors to consider how they could be more collaborative and seamless / complimentary.
While overall it was a positive event, there is a risk that this “talk fest” will not seed positive change because there was little focus on how we move change forward.
Also, the people with power to make the decisions about the future of education may continue to make decisions based on a paradigm of economics and managerialism because little agreed direction was produced from this summit.
It would be interesting to know what the summits collectively cost and how this compares with other forms / costs of promoting engagement.
Overall, it was positive to see a range of interested parties involved in the conversations, it was positive to get different parties talking together and it was positive that some of the young people were empowered to create their own space to allow their voice to be heard.
A think it is good that this government is being bold and considering the future of education for the next 30 years.
But it would be even better to see a strong commitment to quality publicly funded (free) accessible and inclusive education and to be working on how we ensure this happens in all sectors by listening to and working with the staff engaged in education.