Hau Taki Haere |TertiaryUpdate Vol 24, No 4

National Secretary Sharn Riggs reflects on why the TEU is holding a day of action for New Zealand polytechnics on Friday March 13.

Learners and their families deserve life long learning oportunities.

To make this happen we need the government to get polytechnics back in to the black and to keep them there with a better funding model.

This Friday members of Tertiary Education Union | Te Hautū Kahurangi will wear black and gather at campuses from Invercargill to Auckland to ask the government to step it up in their support of the planned vocational education and training system.

On April 1, the new institute at the heart of the unified vocational education system will bring all 16 polytechnics together in the single crown entity.

The vision of an accessible, inclusive, and regionally rich vocational education system resonates with many TEU members who are committed to transformative life-long learning.

It’s a vision tutors, librarians, technicians, administrators, student support staff and many many more have been trying to make real daily.

It’s what makes a tutor fall asleep on a sofa at 2am while marking.

It’s what gets a building tutor into a work van at 7am to pick up students to get them into a workshop.

It’s why polytechnic staff members are happy to stay over the weekend at a marae to help teach tikanga and in doing so miss out on time with their own whānau.

This goodwill has been the glue keeping our polytechnics together and functioning. It’s the willingness to make things stretch just a little more. It has also forced staff to keep doing more with less.

But this goodwill will not be enough to create the brave new world set out in the Charter of NZIST and in the proposed tertiary education strategy.

We need funding to give staff the time, resources, and energy to be bold.

The Minister of Education has said the reform of the vocational education sector is dependent on the staff of the vocational education sector. Those who teach, facilitate, support, assess, and create in our ITPs and ITOs. We hope the Minister has the support of his colleagues in parliament to make the vision of accessible and inclusive education real.

We’ll give them hundreds of reason to do so at the Day of Action this Friday. We urge the government to respond by signalling the financial commitment it will make to the Minister’s bold vision for an accessible, inclusive and regionally rich vocational education and training system.

Also in this update:

·        TEU calls for discussions on COVID-19 response amidst threat of job losses

·        Time for sensible and measured response to coronavirus

·        Stopwork meetings at Massey in response to proposed changes

·        Part two of our conversation with National Secretary Sharn Riggs

Other stories

Massey scientists fear jobs will be scrapped before 'innovation complex' opens – NZ Herald

UC commits to gender pay parity research and action – University of Canterbury

University employers say union demands on pay are unaffordable – The Guardian (UK)