Wellington tradespeople could suffer from Weltec cost-cutting

Posted By TEU on Sep 23, 2010 |

Tertiary Update Vol 13 No 36

Weltec is looking to disestablish 12 trade tutors and get the remaining tutors to move away from teaching the practical elements of their trades in workshops, to focus instead solely on classroom theory.

Weltec’s review of trades delivery proposes instead that workshops will be run and supervised by much more lowly paid tutorial assistants. These tutorial assistants will be allowed to supervise workshops but not teach or assess. Trades covered by this proposal include horticulture, automotive, construction and building ,engineering and electrical and others.

TEU branch co-president Vaughan Maybury says the proposals if implemented could undermine the breadth of education that trades students currently receive.

“You can teach students the theory in a classroom, but some of the best learning that makes people good, safe tradespeople that customers can rely on, happens in real-life practical situations.  But Weltec is saying that we cannot teach or assess those moments.”

“Would you want a mechanic working on your car if their tutor had never actually seen if they could hold a wrench, let alone fix an engine?”

The review, which was announced last month, is currently subject to a legal challenge from TEU. TEU organiser Phillip Dyhrberg says union members previously made numerous submissions opposing the proposal. Weltec’s chief executive Dr Linda Sissons says the impetus for the review is government funding cuts and capped student funding.

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. 9000 students may lose loans next year
  2. Academics need reinstatement, not pay-out
  3. Student membership Bill nears end of debate
  4. Britain prepares to swap fees for graduate tax

Other news

“Spending on tertiary education is being maintained at current baseline levels. We are not increasing the amount of tertiary education looking forward, because tertiary education already takes a large and significant proportion of the Government’s expenditure as a percentage of economic wealth compared with other countries.” – Minister of tertiary education Steven Joyce.

A group of Dunedin women artists has launched a second secret “art attack” at the University of Otago College of Education. The group, which call itself the ArTarts, planted crosses into a courtyard lawn after business hours on Monday to protest restructuring, which they say will cut art tuition to teacher trainees by 25% from next year – Otago Daily Times

The 90-day probation period should be the default for all new employees, Business New Zealand says. In a submission to parliament’s transport and industrial relations committee, the business advocacy body said a probation period should be an option employees opt out of when starting a new job, rather than opt in to – NZPA

A Belfast graduate has taken his university to court after they awarded him a 2:2 degree. Andrew Croskery, from County Down, applied for a judicial review of the grade he received from Queen’s University in Belfast. Mr Croskery claimed if he had received better supervision he would have obtained a 2:1, the High Court was told on Monday – BBC

With the international university rankings season underway, higher education policy-makers and leaders have criticised league tables for distorting university priorities during a major global recession. Delegates speaking at the OECD Higher Education conference in Paris last week said rankings did not help. Vice-chancellor of California State University, Charles Reed, caused a stir when he described global rankings as “a disease” – University World News

“The panel recommends that the University ensures consistent University-wide application and monitoring of the academic staff Professional Development and Review process which includes evidence on workload, research and teaching performance, and which is improvement focussed.” – New Zealand Academic Audit Unit auditing the University of Canterbury.

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: http://scr.im/stephenday

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