Productivity Commission to investigate tertiary education

Posted By TEU on Nov 5, 2015 | 5 comments

Tertiary Update Vol 18 No 37

Finance Minister Bill English and Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce have asked the Act Party’s Productivity Commission to review tertiary education.

The two ministers say the commission will identify potential barriers to innovation.

“We have asked the Productivity Commission to consider how changes, in technology, costs, and internationalisation, might change the way we fund, organise and deliver tertiary education and training in the future,” says English.

TEU national president Sandra Grey is warning that the  biggest barrier to innovation in tertiary education is the government’s unnecessary counting and measuring of outputs, and focus on economic outcomes.

“People working in public tertiary education are already creative and innovative.  We need the government to remove all the penny-pinching managerialism and bureaucratic reporting mechanisms. Fund us properly then step back and let us do our job.”

Grey says the commission’s terms of reference focus too heavily on external influences on tertiary education – new technology, international issues, employer pressures, and demographics – while ignoring internal issues like pedagogy and creating an environment that supports high-quality teaching, learning, and research.

Grey says the commission’s focus on continuously adapting and changing for the future, rather than rebuilding a stable secure tertiary education system that gives everybody access to education, will simply make the sector dizzy.

“Education’s purpose is not productivity, it is opportunity,” says Grey.

“The government would do better to get an Equality of Opportunity Commission to run its ruler over our tertiary education system.”

The commission will start its inquiry by releasing an issues paper with a list of key questions, available in February 2016. It will seek submissions and give a final report to government in February 2017.

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. TEU meets with council to save the Unitec 300
  2. Security staff win benefits of Canterbury collective agreement
  3.  New law risks zero hours in NZ universities
  4. Counting the ways wages are being suppressed
  5. Steven Joyce is breaching his own law
  6. Minister needs to act faster on Aoraki merger

Other news

Tomorrow is the last day to put your name to an online submission in support of eight more weeks of paid parental leave –  ActionStation

Student leaders are reporting increasing concern among students of their graduate prospects as the unemployment rate rises to 6 percent, and youth unemployment increases 1.7 percent  to 15.33 percent  – NZUSA

Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce said the government would fund growth in student numbers without requiring institutions to seek permission first – Radio New Zealand

Waikato University vice-chancellor Neil Quigley Quigley said people’s research performance had to be monitored because of the monetary effect. “I simply have no choice but to do that, and as their employer I think I have a right to do it,” he said – Waikato Times

Figures out today show that there are fewer Kiwis in work and 40,000 more people without jobs compared to this time last year.  President of the CTU Richard Wagstaff knows the government can do more, “The Government has an opportunity to create more jobs. There are 270,000 people who want jobs and there is plenty of work that the country needs doing – but what initiatives are being undertaken to maximise this opportunity to create good jobs for all?” – CTU

The Tertiary Education Commission has published its Literacy and Numeracy Implementation Strategy 2015–2019 – Tertiary Education Commission

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