The minister of tertiary education, skills and employment last week told an audience in Riyadh where he was trying to entice students to study here of huge staffing and workload pressures facing universities around the world.
“Over the next 20 years there will be massive competitive pressure as universities look to recruit senior academics to staff those universities. There will also be a massive increase in the number of graduates around the world,”
He then went on to suggest that one of the main solutions to that problem was ultra-fast broadband.
“The method of teaching is crucially important. The unspoken challenge to the university sector worldwide is whether we can provide sufficient quality teachers that match this upsurge in learning that is going to be occurring.”
“This is where I think technology is going to play a huge part. Ultra-fast broadband linkages between our institutions and between our institutions and our students provide a huge range of opportunities for learning which we should all look to take advantage of.”
TEU national president Dr Sandra Grey was astonished Mr Joyce then said the solution to understaffing was using broadband to beam overseas lecturers into New Zealand lecture theatres.
“He is effectively telling Saudi students to fly 17 hours to New Zealand to sit in a lecture theatre and watch an academic on television – an academic who might well be Saudi.”
“He cannot paper over staff shortages and funding cuts with ultra-fast broadband and remote learning. International and domestic students pay large amounts of money expecting face-to-face contact and human interaction with their lecturers and tutors. If New Zealand wants to remain an attractive place to study for international, and domestic students, it needs to invest in training and recruiting new academics to cover the impending skills shortage,” said Dr Grey.