The Labour government must stick to its guns about collaboration being fundamental to vocational education and ensure that changes to the Education Act provide the foundations for industry leaders and polytechnic staff to work together as equal partners in a unified vocational education system.

The NZ Tertiary Education Union|Te Hautū Kahurangi is pleased that the Education Amendment Bill introduced to parliament  this week includes a charter setting out the importance of high quality, accessible, lifelong vocational education and training for all New Zealanders and in all communities.

“However, we are baffled that for all the talk of collaboration and the unifying of the system we have a first run of the legislation saying that industry will drive the direction of vocational education,” says TEU President Michael Gilchrist.

“Industry is a crucial partner in planning and ensuring lifelong learning but they’ll only get the wins they need by working alongside teaching experts, iwi, and the community in designing the future of education and training,” says Gilchrist.

Tertiary education is much more than skills and work-ready people being churned out for the labour market. That’s why we can’t have a narrow group of industry leaders setting curriculum, assessments, teaching materials, and qualifications.

Gilchrist says “learners must be equipped in every way for the challenges of tomorrow – for changes in the nature of work and the structure of our economy. They must be able to participate in those changes not only as workers but as active citizens and contributors to their communities.”

The expertise of tutors, librarians, course designers,administrators, IT staff, and other tertiary education sector staff must be recognised as crucial in designing learning that works for learners from all walks of life.

Media contacts

Michael Gilchrist, NZTEU National President, +64 27 899 4256

Sharn Riggs, NZTEU National Secretary, +64 27 443 8768