Minister shares his dusty briefings

Posted By TEU on Mar 18, 2010 |

Tertiary Update, Vol 13 No 9

The minister of tertiary education has just released the official briefings given to him by officials upon his assuming ministerial responsibilities two months ago. Despite more than a year of economic turmoil, and many major changes in the tertiary education sector, the Ministry of Education supplied Steven Joyce with essentially the same briefing it gave Anne Tolley in 2008.” 

TEU national president Dr Tom Ryan says he is surprised that the ministry’s official briefing should be so generic.” 

“We would prefer to know the minister is being properly advised on the most current issues in the sector – the economic downturn, last year’s dramatic cuts in funding, the impact of the EFTS cap, the ongoing problems trying to get fair and reasonable employment agreements settled at institutions around the country.”

The ministry’s briefing to the minister included two papers written to the previous minister upon her assuming office in late 2008, as well as last year’s Tertiary Education Strategy and some new contact details for ministry officials.

By comparison the Tertiary Education Commission’s briefing lists four current issues that require the minister’s attention: the upcoming budget, the appointment of new councils to institutes of technology and polytechnics, performance linked funding, and a fourth issues that was withheld from public release under the Official Information Act. Indeed large parts of TEC’s briefing have been withheld from the public under exclusion provisions in the Official Information Act.” 

The sections of the report that remain however focus strongly on funding issues facing the tertiary sector, and in particular the ITPs which it says are facing a total cut of $76 million from next year. It also says that small ITPs, in particular, are failing to live within their available means.

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. ERA agrees to facilitation
  2. Aoraki begins restructuring
  3. TEU opposes voluntary student membership bill
  4. Place at uni for high school teachers

Other news

“I don’t necessarily think you’ll get a whole lot of tertiary institutions killed. It’s pretty hard work. It’s like closing a hospital. But as long as you can show there are some real savings and that an institution isn’t really fundamental to a region, you close those…” Tertiary education consultant Mai Chen, on National Radio’s Nine to Noon show.

The income of many senior British academic managers has soared over the past decade, far outstripping growth in average lecturers’ pay, according to a Guardian inquiry. More than 80 vice-chancellors now earn more than the prime minister, and some have seen their annual earnings double or even triple over the past decade.

Tony Ryall, State Services Minister, has just released data for the education sector of capping public service employment. From the end of 2008 to the end of 2009, staff at the MOE dropped by 46 (1.6%), at the TEC by 66″ (18%), and at NZQA by 19″ (4.3%). Overall public sector staff numbers dropped by 940 or” 1.8% – Education Directions

A federal judge has permanently barred Tarrant County College from blocking “empty holster” protests by students on the campus, finding that the ban was an unconstitutional limit on free expression. The students wanted to wear empty holsters to protest a state law that bars concealed weapons from college campuses – The Fort Worth Star-Telegram


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:

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