Minister confirms changes coming for university councils

Posted By TEU on Sep 12, 2013 |

Tertiary Update Vol 16 No 31

Tertiary education Minister Steven Joyce told NewstalkZB changes to university and wānanga councils are coming, but is leaving the details vague for the moment.

“You’ll just have to wait and see.”

Earlier in the week a spokesperson for Steven Joyce told the Otago Daily Times an announcement on the changes was ”still weeks away”. The spokesperson previously said Steven Joyce had ”made no secret of his preference for smaller councils with appointments made on the basis of skills and experience”.

These statements add weight to earlier warnings by TEU that government is looking to downsize university councils and replace local staff, student and community representatives with a majority of ministerial appointees. The union expects that the changes, when they are announced, will be similar to those imposed upon polytechnics in 2009.

“If the minister wrests control of councils from local communities, takes away staff, student and iwi representation, and puts it in the hands of his own appointees, that would be a serious threat to academic freedom,” said TEU national president Lesley Francey.

At the time, the polytechnic council law was before parliament public law expert Mai Chen said the dominance of ministerial appointees may undermine institutional autonomy, contrary to the object of the Education Act and Parliament’s clear intentions for academic freedom and independence.

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. University rankings slide as class sizes rise
  2. Employment law bill breaches human rights
  3. University of Edinburgh vows to abolish zero-hour contracts
  4. FFTOs pay the price for free foundation studies

Other news

Research shows mature students with life experience make the best doctors, yet new student loan rules are set to put medical studies out of their financial reach – Stuff

On the eve of the launch of the latest Tertiary Education Strategy that proposes punishing tertiary institutions for the employment outcomes of their graduates, it’s time for the government to step up and take responsibility for delivering the jobs – NZUSA

Statistics New Zealand and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs have produced an infographic presenting a snapshot of women’s achievements in the 120 years since women’s suffrage. The infographic shows, over time, a representation of trends in employment, education and childbearing for 1893, 1953 and 2013 – Stats NZ

Humanities and social sciences in Australia could lose AU$100 million (£60 million) in funding following a change in government, it is feared – Times Higher Education Supplement

The US student loan bubble is starting to burst; the largest bank in the United States will stop making student loans in a few weeks – CNBC

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