TEU president Sandra Grey has been working with academic freedom researchers in England to ensure New Zealand and Australia are part of a major study on academic freedom.
Prof. Terence Karran and Dr. Klaus Beiter are running a project called SAFE – Safeguarding Academic Freedom in Europe.
They say that academic freedom is a fundamental human right and a key element of the creation of a knowledge economy.
“Universities are vital elements in the construction of a European knowledge economy, while academic freedom is considered essential to the proper functioning of a university and is recognised by international bodies such as UNESCO as a barometer of other more fundamental human rights, like freedom of speech.”
Their research compares the constitutional and statutory protection for academic freedom within the European Union and the African continent, and provides an analysis of best practice for the legal and normative protection of academic freedom.
Grey says she has talked to Karren and Beiter about New Zealand and Australian academics participating in an international survey being run as part of the project. They welcomed the opportunity, and academics in Australasia are now welcome to participate in the online survey at: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/AcademicFreedomSurvey
New Zealand is unusual because the duty of academic freedom is protected in law, says Grey.
“However, there is growing anecdotal evidence that government and institutional support for academic freedom is diminishing despite this legal requirement. If the SAFE project collects good data from New Zealand academics it will help give us a better picture of what we have to protect and what areas we need to work to improve.”
“I’m encouraging all academics to take some time to complete the survey.”