Unitec must not remove right to debate change

Posted By TEU on Aug 13, 2015 |

Tertiary Update Vol 18 No 27

Unitec staff have an academic freedom right to debate what they teach, where they teach it and how they teach it, says TEU national president Sandra Grey.

Unitec is proposing massive restructuring and privatisation projects that will cost up to three hundred staff their jobs and fundamentally changes the way it teaches students.

“There is a heavy-handed tone in the documentation staff have received, suggesting they cannot debate the direction of the proposal, only details around specific projects,” says Grey.

She says the statement shuts down proper debate about the academic role of the polytechnic.

“We’re concerned that this potentially impacts on academic freedom and the critic and conscience function, especially the right to critique and to raise controversial issues.”

Grey say the union is not opposed to institutions changing to adapt to the changing nature of education, but it is opposed to privatising public education, as this proposal does, by contracting out large parts of its services to multinational company Concentrix.

“We also oppose this proposal because, as far as we can tell from the discussion so far, it includes a performance management direction that we believe is bad for learning.”

TEU members at Unitec are meeting this week and next to discuss their response to the proposal.

Also in Tertiary Update this week

  1. TEU seeks donations to take trade minister to court
  2. Local iwi need more say in merger
  3. 600 more support Living Wage for Vic
  4. Wait before closing Otago Design programme
  5. NorthTec teachers seek pay parity with Rotorua ITP
  6. Debt delays students starting families
  7. $4 gender pay gap growing faster than inflation
  8. Worker health and safety training closes
  9. Wānanga celebrates wāhine leaders

Other news

TEU members won six of the 12 Tertiary Teaching Excellence Awards celebrating New Zealand’s finest tertiary teachers – as recognised by their organisations, colleagues, learners and broader communities. A total of 12 awards were presented this week by Ako Aotearoa for Sustained Excellence in Tertiary Teaching – under General and Kaupapa Māori categories – Ako Aotearoa

Former Lincoln University vice chancellor Andy West received a resignation payment to “acknowledge his contributions to the university”, despite concerns about university’s spending on consultants – Timaru Herald.

NZUSA has been working alongside the government to dramatically improve StudyLink’s service delivery for students. In 2013, when 800,000 calls went unanswered and students experienced considerable delays in getting their entitlements. This year the unanswered calls figure has fallen to less than 8,000, and almost all students got their payments on time – NZUSA

The Southern Institute of Technology’s governing councillors have made a good call that chief executive Penny Simmonds should cease to be, at the same time, a member of their own ranks – The Southland Times


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