1 May 2019On 1 May the Tertiary Education Union Te Hautū Kahurangi (TEU) will releasethe findings of the State of the Public Tertiary Education Sector Survey.The report reveals serious concerns about a decline in student supportservices in the tertiary education sector; increased pressures on staff toadmit students into courses they are not ready for; pressure to elevategrades to ensure students pass; and, a decline in wellbeing as staff dealwith rising workloads and work/life conflict.Commissioned by TEU, and written by independent researchers Drs SarahProctor-Thomson and Charles Sedgwick, the report builds on previous surveysrun in 2013 and 2016. It tracks staff’s experience of working in the sectorand how teaching, learning, and research is being affected by a number ofongoing issues and concerns.Almost 2,000 academic and just over 1,000 general staff working inuniversities, institutes of technology and polytechnics, wānanga, and othersites in the tertiary education sector completed the survey.Proctor-Thomson and Sedgwick outline a continuing decline in academicautonomy, a closing down of collegial structures, a decline in standardsaccompanying a pressure for students to pass, and the negative impact onwellbeing for both staff and students in recent years.The majority of staff surveyed reported that their level of satisfactionhad gotten worse or much worse over the last three years as a result ofdeteriorating working conditions in terms of workload, management andleadership.According to Proctor-Thomson and Sedgwick:“The core of what is apparent in this survey is two sets of values at warwith each other. One set generated at a high level by government policy,funding arrangements and a competitive framework and institutional responseto this environment. The other value set embodies those aspects of the jobby which staff in units and departments engaged with teaching and learning.The clash between these sets of values is manifest in many of the changingcircumstances of teaching and learning canvassed in this survey”.While the survey found that ‘effective teaching, engaging with students andcollegial and supportive relationships’ were all rated in the top fivevalues of staff working in tertiary education, the results also suggestthat it is these very values that are most at risk under the currentsystem.According to TEU President Michael Gilchrist:The last three surveys show the sector relying to an ever increasing extenton the goodwill and dedication of staff. The commitment of staff to thecore values of teaching, learning and research are the lifeblood of thesector. But we cannot keep going to that well.Three quarters of academics surveyed were not confident to promote theircareer of choice. Only one quarter would recommend or strongly recommend anacademic career to others. Steps have to be taken to support staffwellbeing through realistic workloads, more professional autonomy, lessmanagerial monitoring and compliance, better job security and more time toinvest in all aspects of the teaching relationship.The report also sets out the causes of the strained working and learningconditions.According to Proctor-Thomson and Sedgwick, the fundamental orientation ofthe tertiary education sector needs to change. The sector needs to turnaway from a competitive, marketised model of business, to a recognition ofthe value of tertiary education to society and its ability to transform thelives of New Zealanders.TEU will be releasing changes needed to ensure that tertiary education inNew Zealand once again works for all students, staff, and communities,providing life-changing opportunities for all who take part. The changesinclude:• parliament receiving reports annually on the use of casual and fixed-termagreements• the removal of all performance-based funding and work within the sector• all collective agreements having salary scales in them for all staff• training for all staff on academic freedom and the enactment of Te Tiritio Waitangi commitmentsThe State of the Public Tertiary Education Sector Survey, 2018,will be officially released 1 May 2019.For a copy of the report please email sandra.grey@teu.ac.nzMedia contacts:Michael Gilchrist, Te Tumu Whakarae National President TEU, 027 8994256Sarah Proctor-Thomson, NMIT and co-author of the State of the PublicTertiary Education Sector, 021 027 41092