The Minister of Education’s bill to annex polytechnic councils and replace them in large part with her own self-appointed apparatchiks has emerged from a parliamentary select committee even worse than it went in says TEU national secretary Sharn Riggs.
The original bill gave the minister the ability to appoint the majority of each polytechnic’s councillors, give them longer periods on the council than their community appointed peers, and the right of veto over important decisions like electing the chair. But at least students and staff retained the right to a minority voice on those councils.
Now a government-dominated select committee has decided that even that right should be removed and that neither staff nor students should be guaranteed a voice at the place that they work and study.
“This bill has moved from a travesty to a farce,” said Ms Riggs. “This was the government that told us it wanted to get the nanny state government out of our lives and trust us to make our own decisions, and yet here they are removing the guarantee of staff and students having a say in their own education.
“Maybe they are envisaging smooth-as-clockwork polytechnics unencumbered by staff and students? Perhaps the next step will be hospitals without patients?” asked Ms Riggs. “This bill should not be allowed into law.”