Tertiary Update – Vol 21 No 4
Government plans announced yesterday to build a truly inclusive, accessible and high quality public education system, overhauling the way future generations of Kiwis are taught, will require government, staff, students, iwi, and community groups working together to ensure we get the changes we need.
The Government’s new education work programme includes plans to reform the institute of technology and polytechnic (ITP) sector and a full review of the flawed Performance Based-Research Fund (PBRF), two recommendations the TEU put forward in its briefing to the new Minister last year.
The Minister is due to report to Cabinet in March with an approach to how reform of the ITP sector will be approached. A final report is expected at the end of the year.
Further changes ahead for the sector include reform of the Education Act. Legislative proposals currently in Parliament to change the Act so staff and student have a right to sit on university and ITP Councils will be followed by more comprehensive reform of the Act before the next election.
The work plan will also focus on raising achievement for Māori and Pasifika learners, work that will require a strong focus on tertiary education. Associate Ministers for Education Kelvin Davis and Jenny Salesa have also been tasked with developing the research capacity of wānanga.
The Tertiary Education Union (TEU) has welcomed the work programme and said it provides an opportunity to bring the sector together to end the crisis facing tertiary education.
“We congratulate the Minister and his team for putting forward a potentially transformative plan for the future of education. It provides a strong sense of the direction the government would like to go in. However, Ministers cannot fix the crisis facing tertiary education alone. We all have a role to play in making this work,” Sandra Grey, national president of the TEU said.
Reforms introduced by the previous National government have wreaked havoc on the sector, forcing courses to close, jobs to be lost, and essential campus services to be shutdown.
The new work programme gives future students hope that they can develop skills, learn trades, and create knowledge in a truly public tertiary education system that will empower them to fulfil their potential and lead good lives.
The plan has come about because we finally have a government that will listen to what staff and students have been saying for years.
“It is clear to me that despite our day-to-day concerns as staff or students or managers, there is a strong consensus on the major issues of importance for tertiary education. It is now down to us as a sector to work together for the changes we need. People also need to tell politicians that this is a big issue and that come the next election they will be judged on whether this three year plan delivers genuine change for education,” Grey added.
The TEU is co-hosting two forums in March that will bring together staff, students, business, industry trainers, sector leaders and policy makers to discuss the future of tertiary education under the Labour-led government.
This will be followed in May by a large government-led Education Summit.
Also in Tertiary Update this week:
- Build education strategy around broad vision, Universities NZ says
- Women’s earnings finally equal men’s from previous year
Unitec is the first tertiary education institution in New Zealand to introduce a Gender Affirmation Policy – Unitec
Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology is the first tertiary education institution to sign the United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principles – Toi Ohomai
Te Wānanga o Aotearoa is supporting a new business accelerator programme for Māori entrepreneurs – NZ Entrepreneur
The New Zealand Qualifications Authority has opened a consultation on proposed changes to the list of assessment standards that can contribute to the University Entrance literacy requirements – NZQA
The University of Otago has launched a new agriculture research arm called Ag@Otago – Farmers Weekly
Massey University has launched a new online course to help rural professionals develop environment plans – Rural News