Careers NZ will merge with the Tertiary Education Commission.
Ministers Hekia Parata and Steven Joyce announced that the government hoped to pass legislation to disestablish Careers NZ early next year.
Initially, all 121 Careers NZ staff, except for the chief executive, will transfer to the commission on their existing terms, but a review of their future would follow subsequently.
The merger was the result of a review of Careers NZ, which started 18 months ago.
NZUSA’s national student president Linsey Higgens says the announcement confirms that tertiary education is essential to get into a career in New Zealand.
However, she is concerned the merger announcement treats tertiary education as if it solely about getting skills for jobs.
“This is a toxic narrative and will turn tertiary institutions into job-readiness factories. If we look at the Education Act the principal aims talk nothing about tertiary education being about employment. It’s about ‘intellectual independence’ and being ‘repositories of knowledge’ and most importantly being the ‘critic and conscience of society’.”
Higgens says tertiary education is now the new compulsory education, whether the government wants to acknowledge it or not.
“Just as happened 70 years ago with secondary schools, what we now need is free tertiary education so people are able to access the life-changing option of education without being burdened by impoverished living conditions and overwhelming debt at the end of their study.”
Thanks to Lexinatrix @ Flickr for the photo http://www.flickr.com/photos/lex/43631705/in/photostream/