Over 50 major tertiary restructurings in the past year

Posted By TEU on Nov 11, 2010 |

Tertiary Update Vol 13 No 43

TEU members have highlighted a growing concern about the impact that an on-going cycle of restructurings, redundancies and funding cuts is having on the staff at the country’s polytechnics.

TEU members used their annual conference in Wellington this week to draw attention to growing concerns about hundreds of reviews and restructures in the past year at tertiary education institutions  – including raising the issue several times with minister of education Steven Joyce.

Mr Joyce argued in his speech to the conference that the Government is funding more students than ever before.  But TEU’s vice-presidents noted that, despite more students, polytechnics in particular are suffering from budget cuts that are forcing them to make significant redundancies.

TEU incoming national president Dr Sandra Grey said the biggest concern for tertiary education staff is  restructuring, saying that there were more than 50 major reviews in tertiary institutions this year as well as hundreds of other minor changes.

“There isn’t an institution here which is not undergoing major restructuring. And this doesn’t provide an environment where we can provide a good quality teaching and learning experience,” Dr Grey told Radio New Zealand.

TEU vice-president for polytechnic general staff, Ken Laraman, told Radio New Zealand that is taking its toll on staff.

“I think exhaustion is the key word. I think we’ve struck a time where people are so exhausted from trying to increase productivity, work harder on less, trying to do much more with fewer resources – especially support resources – and the government, I don’t think, has thought that through,” said Mr Laraman.

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. Universities resist widening gender participation gap
  2. Dairy worker sacked within 90 days for protecting a migrant worker
  3. TEU calls for wider vision from Steven Joyce
  4. Student membership Bill passes another reading

Other news

A proposed 6.3% increase in tuition fees for most University of Otago students next year is too much, Otago University Students’ Association (OUSA) president Harriet Geoghegan says. The university would lose $5.3 million next year because Government funding allocated temporarily to boost academic salaries had ended, and was expecting salary, consumables and building occupancy cost increases to be $12.5 million next year – Otago Daily Times

The number of international students enrolled to study in New Zealand is continuing to increase, says tertiary education minister Steven Joyce. Latest enrolment figures show an increase of nearly five percent for the first eight months of this year, compared to last. “The government is keen to work with providers to further improve the quality and scale of New Zealand’s international education sector. International students currently make up around 13% of the student roll in New Zealand universities, compared to an average of more than 20% in Australian universities.”

British student protesters smashed windows and waved flags from the roof of the building housing the Conservative party headquarters as the fringe of a vast rally against university funding cuts turned violent. The scale of the London protest defied expectations, with an estimated 50,000 turning out to vent their anger at government plans to raise tuition fees while cutting the state grant for university teaching – The Guardian

The government financial statements released today provide further evidence that the economy is stagnating, said CTU Economist and Policy Director Bill Rosenberg. “The Government should not use this financial result as a reason to cut back further on expenditure. Instead it needs to ensure that activity levels in the economy are maintained and boosted,” said Rosenberg.

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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