Hau Taki Haere | Tertiary Update Vol 25, No 1

In all my years working in the tertiary education sector, seldom have TEU been invited to sit at the table and co-create what is best for our sector, even though we work in it day to day.  But over two days, at TEU’s Designing Together – A conversation about Te Pūkenga’s operating model members spoke, and we were listened to.

This forum resulted from the efforts of many members who have actively fought over a long time for leaders in the sector to take seriously the voice of staff and learners and is a living embodiment of Te Pūkenga’s charter requirement to empower staff and students. You, our TEU members, have kept reminding senior leaders that our input matters.  

The forum began with members debating the principles that should underpin the new national network of provision. During the second day we worked with Ernst & Young to consider different aspects of an operating model, such as measures and motivators, tools and technology and governance interactions. Members talked about what things will work and what would not.

The exchange was two way. Te Pūkenga Chief Executive Stephen Town discussed the historical underfunding of the sector and explained how a new funding model cannot occur until after the operating model is finalised. He shared that they were finalising a new financial initiative which means that by the middle of this year the money from every institution will go into one bank account. Institutions will be able to borrow money cheaply and invest at fair rates. Members stressed that this needs to help reduce the current short-sighted cuts to staff and courses.

Town also discussed the transition of the first three ITOs into Te Pūkenga which will occur from 1 August 2021 with the establishment of a new work-based subsidiary. This will see 37% of the approximately 140,000 ITO learners become part of Te Pūkenga.

By the end, members at the forum felt they had had a chance to contribute to the creation of the new network, that what they said was valued and they were more optimistic for the future. But the work is ongoing. We trust Te Pūkenga leaders and EY to create a more detailed operating plan with the assurance that there will be future consultation across Aotearoa New Zealand. The aim is for a finalised operating model by the end of 2021, one that we can all support.

I left the forum proud of the efforts of members who were co-creating better ways of working. And I left feeling hopeful that from the embracing of Te Tiriti as the centre that we will create more respectful, meaningful and relationship-based ways of working that will meet the needs of leaners and staff. A positive start to 2021.

Tina Smith, Tumu Whakarae | National President.

Also in this update:

Designing principles of a new operational model, together

Union democracy in action

Money for signs but not staff appalling

Other News:

Fears as potential job losses loom at Massey University - Stuff

Te Pūkenga under fire for failing to meet Te Tiriti o Waitangi in Unitec restructure - RNZ

Covid-19: Proposal for school-run MIQ for international students 'under consideration' - Stuff

New Victoria University signs could damage the 'mana and significance' of the Parliamentary Precinct - Stuff

New Year, new team, renewed focus on the mahi – Te Pūkenga