The National Party has deviated from its pre-government tertiary education philosophy according to TEU national president Dr Sandra Grey. In 2006 Bill English the then shadow minister for education argued that the government was being overly prescriptive in its policy demands for tertiary education and that there were costs to trying to manipulate the system that needed to be accounted for.
“New Zealand’s tertiary reforms demonstrate that there are practical limits to how far a government can steer the tertiary education system. Policymakers need to be aware that a complex and dynamic tertiary sector is not easily measured or manipulated. The costs and energy of New Zealand’s complex attempt to do so have not been worth it.”
Mr English argued for institutions to have greater freedom and less bureaucratic diktats.
“Tertiary institutions should advocate for a much-simplified system with less central bureaucratic discretion, certain sanctions, and greater institutional autonomy. They should be demanding that central government stick to quality monitoring and funding limits until it can demonstrate that its own strategic processes can in fact add value to the institutions.”
However, Dr Grey said that the current government strategy is essentially an extension of the previous government’s strategy, with an increased emphasis on directing what type of research institutions should undertake, what type of students institutions should teach, what should be taught and what constitutes quality.
“Most institutions believe there are greater compliance requirements and bureaucratic demands than in previous years.”
“The National Government’s tertiary education policy conflicts with the party’s core values of removing bureaucratic hurdles and freeing up institutions to deliver high quality education.”
Tertiary Update contacted Mr English and the current minister of tertiary education Mr Joyce but neither responded.