Unrequited epistles to the minister

Posted By TEU on Dec 6, 2012 |

The minister for tertiary education and other miscellanies and salmagundi, Steven Joyce, is yet to meet with TEU after a series of letters inviting him to discuss tertiary education issues.

Concerned that the minister was lax in his commitment to meeting with union representatives about education issues, TEU’s national council instructed the TEU national president in October to contact the minister and formally invite him to a meeting. Since then national president Sandra Grey has written to the minister on eight separate occasions on the following issues:

  1. Democratic governance in the tertiary sector
  2. Concerns about changes in level 1 and 2 funding and what impact the loss of this funding in some polytechnics may have on foundation programmes for this part of the sector
  3. An invitation to attend the first TEU council meeting in 2013
  4. Better public services policy – whether the minister has considered the unintended consequences of EPI for the tertiary sector (student completion and progression) such as institutes choosing not to enrol ‘risky’ or ‘marginal’ students and possible pressure to inflate grades
  5. How the review of the PBRF will be conducted in 2013, especially with a consideration being given to having a focus on the true transaction costs of the model
  6. An invitation to TEU’s branch presidents’ forum in 2013
  7. Focus on international student enrolments – whether a risk analysis has been undertaken on the stability of this market, possible consequences of this, and contingency planning
  8. The government’s perceived lack of support for academic freedom

In each letter, Sandra Grey has provided detail of TEU’s concerns and requested a meeting to discuss the issue she has raised.

As yet, the minister has not provided a substantive reply to any of these letters. However as soon as he does we will let you know.

“TEU represents over 10,000 people who put their life into tertiary education. The issues we raise represent the democratically debated issues of those 10,000 people. We don’t expect the minister to agree with us always, but we do expect him to hear us, as has always been the practice with previous ministers,” said Sandra Grey.

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. Post-grad student reconsider their future
  2. Funding experiment leads to education providers with no teaching materials
  3. TEU elections
  4. AUT members negotiate new colletive agreement
  5. Auckland Ports dispute awaits facilitation outcome
  6. Family violence – It’s not ok

Other news

This year the government departed with a tradition of working closely with polytechnics to establish how best to spend taxpayers’ money and instead made our public institutions compete for taxpayers’ dollars to provide foundation courses – Sandra Grey

Part of O’Sullivan’s complaint is that Kelsey is an activist, from academia, who consorts with NGOs. Dodgy in itself, clearly. What on earth is an academic doing being part of an actual social debate? Surely they should remain in their ivory tower doing what God and Steven Joyce plainly intended them to do – which is to tend an assembly line where bright inquiring minds come in at one end and emerge at the other as corporate drones. Kelsey, bless her, refuses to be a willing accomplice of that process. She seems to see her role as being to challenge the false consensus on the Trans Pacific Partnership, and thus contribute to one of the key debates in society – which is what universities did for hundreds of years before being taken over by the bean counters of the neo-liberal market economy – Gordon Campbell/Scoop

Just 20.8 percent of senior academic staff at the University of Otago are female, putting the institution behind all but one of the other seven universities in New Zealand, a recent report says – Otago Daily Times

Research scientists and those who fund them say New Zealand’s funding system is in crisis, with grants available to only a few and some are giving up or moving overseas – Radio NZ


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