Staff must be involved in determining the future direction of WelTec and Whitireia, the Tertiary Education Union said after Education Minister Chris Hipkins made a preliminary decision to appoint a commissioner to oversee the institution, thereby dismissing their joint council.
The Council has up to 21 days to reply before the decision is finalised, and have said they will do so quickly. In announcing his decision to appoint a commissioner Minister Chris Hipkins noted: “Whitireia is in extreme financial difficulty. If the Government hadn’t provided financial support of $15 million, it would have to close its doors this month. While WelTec’s financial position is stronger than Whitireia’s, it is also operating in deficit, experiencing lower than expected enrolments and needs to borrow to meet its financial commitments to keep running this year.”
Both institutions have been through years of course and staff cuts, changes to roles, and constantly changing expectations. Much of this change has its genesis in decisions of the last National government to squeeze the funding of the tertiary education sector and the drive for institutions to be ‘business-like’ through the competitive funding model.
TEU national president, Sandra Grey urged the institution’s Chief Executive, the new commissioner, and other decision makers to take seriously staff expertise when looking to turn around the difficulties faced by the two institutions.
“Our Polytechnics are based on good teaching for students in diverse communities. Currently neither academic staff teachers, nor students, nor communities are at the centre of decisions. TEU members urge a commissioner to bring this focus back,” Grey said.
The concerns of staff centre on the rising numbers of managers at the two polytechnics, the feeling of a lack of academic input into many decisions, the reduction of student support roles, and the lack of connection between the polytechnics and their communities.
“Polytechnics are core public institutions in many New Zealand communities, not businesses. We are pleased the Minister has again reiterated his commitment that top quality vocational training continues to be available at Whitireia and WelTec and demonstrated this commitment by providing $15 million to Whitireia,” Grey said.
Also in Tertiary Update this week:
- MPs must step up and increase staff representation
- Candidate for TEU president, Bill Rogers says it is all about people: whakawhanaungatanga
- Candidate for TEU president, Michael Gilchrist says he will extend political campaigning to industrial issues
- One thousand students and staff call for Living Wage at AUT
- Performance-based Research Fun must change
Only one in 100 entrants to university courses come from the most deprived homes, according to an investigation – NZ Herald
Victoria University of Wellington’s council has voted 9-2 to drop “Victoria” from the institution’s name and change it to ‘University of Wellington’ – VUW
Victoria University’s domestic tuition fees will go up by 2 percent in 2019 and student services fees will go up 4.5 percent – VUW
The Ministry of Education has launched a public consultation process on a proposal to raise the Export Education Levy – MoE