Hau Taki Haere Tertiary Update Vol 24, No 6

Each week TEU’s national team has been keeping members up to date with the latest news about our sector’s COVID-19 response.

We’ve focused on answering questions about some of the most important issues – wellbeing; leave provisions; funding for the sector; and much more.

You can get all the detail on the COVID-19 check-in webpage.

Wellbeing needs to be our focus

Since the COVID-19 response began just over a month ago workloads in the tertiary education sector have ramped up. We strive to do the best by our students and we know that both academic and professional staff are trying to make sure there is no difference in experience for learners and no drop in productivity.

We need to ensure all staff in the tertiary education sector understand that these are extraordinary times and ordinary tasks may take longer or may not get done at all.

Here’s a couple of op-eds that may help put it all in context:

1. Advice on how to help students learn by releasing pressure on yourself

2. Why You Should Ignore All That Coronavirus-Inspired Productivity Pressure

Leave during the Level-4 response period

We have been lobbying for a consistent, co-ordinated response to COVID-19 across the tertiary sector for some time now. We continue to seek a unified approach in a number of areas but we now have a very clear and consistent position on the key area of leave.

When it comes to leave – here is the Tertiary Education Commission statement given to the vice chancellors and chief executives in the universities, wānanga, and polytechnics:

“All TEIs are considered part of the State Sector through this lockdown period.

• Employees should work remotely (usually from home) wherever practicable; or

• Where it is not possible for an employee to work remotely, special paid leave should be given.

• If an employee becomes ill with COVID-19, sick leave should be used. If the employee has insufficient sick leave, the employee may anticipate further sick leave or receive additional discretionary leave/paid special leave (i.e. continue to be paid).

This means for the avoidance of doubt that for all staff, no reduction in salary should occur and if a staff member is unable to perform any of their normal work duties from home, then they should be given paid special leave for whatever period applies in lockdown.”

TEU’s organisers are working with the employers in PTEs and other tertiary providers to make sure they are supporting their workers.

If you have any issues around leave, please contact us by email teu@teu.ac.nz

Funding for all TEIs in 2020

There is great news with regard to the approach to under-delivery or failure to meet Education Performance Indicators. While everyone is keen to ensure learners are supported as much as possible and that we continue to deliver quality education, the reality of the current extraordinary times means some adjustments in expectations are seen as acceptable.

In normal years if there is under-delivery or underperformance in terms of enrolment targets and other targets set in an institution’s investment plan, institutions have to pay back some of the funding allocated to them under that plan. The TEC has decided there will not be any of these ‘clawbacks’ in relation to 2020 investment plans. Clawbacks currently being imposed in relation to 2019 plans will continue – but the funds collected will be re-allocated to tertiary education institutions where they are needed most for survival this year.

This financial assistance is in addition to the dropping of the requirement for TEIs to make surplus this year.

International students

Last week the Government released its plan to safely repatriate foreign nationals including international students while the country is in lockdown. Within the plan, education providers must ensure certain requirements are met for students repatriating, including clear and timely communication with students and parents of students under 18 years about travel.

Also in this update:

·        NZIST holds first council meeting

·        Minimum wage increase offers boost to vulnerable families

·        NZUSA call for a consistent response to COVID-19

·        ‘Top tips for ensuring institutional health during the lock down and beyond’

·        Being an outsider inside: Working in the NZIST Establishment Unit

Other stories

Otago University will not answer Critics' queries after scathing Covid-19 opinion piece - RNZ

Coronavirus: Hardship a real possibility for tertiary students - Stuff

Why more Māori professors are essential for Aotearoa’s universities – The Spinoff

'Simply you are fired': Sacking of 200 SkyCity staff angers union - Stuff

Coronavirus: AUT does a U-turn on extending term to Christmas after student uproar - Stuff

To keep up with the latest COVID-19 response news from government agencies and national bodies:

Tertiary Education Commission

NZIST – parent body for the ITPs

Universities NZ