Concern over growing workloads

Posted By TEU on Jun 11, 2009 |

Tertiary Update Volume 12 Number 18

Ever-growing workloads for staff across the tertiary sector is a problem that needs to be addressed before it starts to significantly erode the quality of education students receive, says TEU president Tom Ryan.

“Over recent months we have seen the pressure growing in polytechnics and institutes of technology, with many teachers rightly pointing out that the number of contact hours they have with students doesn’t leave them enough time in a normal working week to do all the other things that contribute to good learning”.

In universities many staff are also feeling the pressure.  The TEU is discussing ways it can address the problem members at negotiation claims meetings this month. The immediate solutions are likely to be different for academic and general staff.

Tertiary education staff are not alone in facing growing workloads – workload is being increasingly recognised in New Zealand as a factor in workplace stress, which is a health and safety hazard.

“Excessive workload is, in large part, a cultural problem we need to front up to.  New Zealand has some of the longest working hours in the OECD and it’s not in our members’ interests”, said Dr Ryan. “Employers with strategies to support work-life balance increase their employee engagement and therefore discretionary effort and productivity. In tertiary education that would mean less stress, and thus better teaching and learning.  Piling on the overtime – paid or unpaid – simply is no longer viable.”

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. End to Lincoln-AgResearch merger
  2. Six urban polytechnics leave ITPNZ
  3. Will local councils still work with tertiary education institutes?
  4. Minister disputes value of adult education
  5. Divine Word to go paperless

TEU Tertiary Update is published weekly on Thursdays and distributed freely to members of the Tertiary Education Union and others. You can subscribe to Tertiary Update by email or feed reader. Back issues are available on the TEU website. Direct inquiries should be made to Stephen Day, email:

Tom Ryan, TEU national president te tumu whakarae

Print Friendly, PDF & Email