No logic to council changes

Posted By TEU on Oct 10, 2013 | 2 comments

Tertiary Update Vol 16 No 34

The government’s proposals to replace students, staff and community representatives on university and wānanga councils with people with management experience is politically motivated and lacks any common sense justification, says TEU vice-president Cat Pausé.

“The minister argues councils need to change to be more ‘nimble and adaptable‘ if they are to face the challenges of MOOCs, information technology and international students. Yet the existing councils have been thinking about and responding to these issues for years, whereas this seems to be the first time the minister has even mentioned MOOCs in any speech or media release.”

Cat Pausé says the world is struggling to emerge from a global financial crisis created, in large part, by small private boards full of unrepresentative people with lots of management experience; boards who ‘nimbly and efficiently’ skirted around the rules and responsibilities they should have held to their shareholders and communities.

By comparison, university councils and wānanga councils have delivered massive surpluses in recent years, significantly above those expected of them by the government and the tertiary education commission.

The minister’s proposal will see university and wānanga councils decrease in size from 12 to 20 members, to eight to 12 members. They will make council membership requirements more flexible by removing seats set aside for staff, students and other community representatives. However the four ministerial appointees will remain. The changes also require the minister and councils to appoint members with governance capability, making it harder for staff and students, as well as groups traditionally excluded from governance roles such as ethnic minorities and women, to hold seats on councils.

You can read more, and make a submission, on the changes at the Ministry of Education website.

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. New Tertiary Education Strategy favours business above all else
  2. Report finds over 635,000 New Zealand workers in insecure work
  3. New watchdog group protects academic freedom
  4. Joyce looks to lower fee maxima cap?
  5. Petition calls for trade negotiations to be public

Other news

“Steven, I have assessed your paper on university governance and I have given it a grade. I know you will be disappointed by the mark so I will outline at some length why this submission does not meet the required tertiary level standard.” – Alan Cocker, AUT

Manawatu workers have launched a scathing assault on the Government’s planned changes to employment laws, telling a parliamentary select committee lives will be lost if they go ahead. In a rare, possibly unprecedented move, the Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee sat in Palmerston North last week after it received a flood of submissions on the proposed law changes from people in the city – Manawatu Standard

Basing university subject rankings on reputation metrics disadvantages departments outside global cities – Jonathan Albright, London School of Economics and Political Science.

Working at McDonald’s will gain credits towards a university degree in a deal between the fast-food giant and Massey University. The two organisations have signed an agreement that will enable McDonald’s staff to take a shortcut to completion of a bachelor of business studies or diploma or certificate in business studies – NZ Herald

The Government has approved a capital injection of $18.9 million to the Christchurch Polytechnic and Institute of Technology (CPIT) to enable it to further expand its trades training capacity as part of its campus rebuild following the Canterbury earthquakes – Tertiary education minister Steven Joyce


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