2020 has in many ways brought us all closer in our shared experiences, as a union, as colleagues, a country, and a planet, even as it has often kept us apart.

Within the tertiary education sector, Covid-19 and its economic impact have posed new challenges, and highlighted old ones.

TEU would like to thank all our members who have contributed their insight and experiences to Hau Taki Haere |Tertiary Update over what has been a trying year for us all.

We’ve taken a look at the most-viewed Hau Taki Haere | Tertiary Update stories of 2020 – the stories you have most read and shared with colleagues. They offer important insight into some of the most significant issues and changes we as union members and educators face, and the conversations we must continue to lead and be a part of.

1. E moe mārie - tributes to Whaea Kā

In March TEU paid tribute to the inimitable Whaea Kāterina Daniels - Teacher, guide, mentor, peacemaker, staunch unionist, and te reo Māori advocate.

“All who had the privilege of spending time with Kā are richer for that experience. We were so grateful for the time she gave to us and willingness of her whānau to share their important taonga for the many years she was our Kuia”, says Matua Hōne Sadler, TEU Kaumātua.

2. Online provision must not displace face-to-face teaching

Can online teaching replace face-to-face teaching? Do staff have a say in how their courses are delivered? What are the consequences for student learning and staff workload in substituting videos for ‘traditional’ lectures? These were some of the questions raised at our tertiary education institutions as ‘traditional’ lectures were delivered online due to Covid-19.

3. More work and less pay? That won’t help Aotearoa’s training needs

By May 5 2020, nearly 30,000 people had been quietly working from kitchens, spare rooms, garages, and lounges over five weeks in order to support tertiary education students across Aotearoa and save lives during the Covid-19 pandemic, as some employers were suggesting staff take pay cuts.

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

As MPs and government officials continued to debate the travel ban in response to Covid-19, disruption continued for staff and students in the tertiary education sector. TEU called for a meeting to discuss the development of a plan to minimise the impact of the travel ban on our staff, students and tertiary education institutions.

5. TEU elects Tina Smith as new National President

TEU announced members had voted Tina Smith as our Tumu Whakarae |National President for the 2021-22 term.

“I am looking forward to getting out to all the branches and meeting the wonderful people who make our sector dynamic and essential to all whānau, communities, and employers”, Smith said.

6. Coronavirus, reforms, and a settlement

In February 2020, as concerns over the impact of Covid-19 on tertiary education institutions increased, TEU Tumu Whakarae | National President Michael Gilchrist said measures may need to be put in place to protect those institutions worst impacted by the likely drop in enrolments and revenue.

7. Moving to COVID-19 Alert Level 3

We welcomed the news that the country was making steady and relatively speedy progress toward eliminating Covid-19, but noted that each level of lockdown brought fresh challenges for TEU members, adding to those they were already managing.

8. NZUSA call for a consistent response to COVID-19

NZUSA national president Isabella Lenihan-Ikin discussed the challenges posed by Covid-19 on the student community in Aotearoa, and the National Student Action Plan on Covid-19 that was developed in response.

9. Latest Survey – ‘Business as usual’? Or a time for solid consultation and planning?

In May 2020, researcher Dr Charles Sedgwick discussed the results of the TEU survey Tertiary Lives | COVID-19: A Survey on the Impact of COVID-19 on Tertiary Education Staff which asked members how they were managing work and home life during Covid-19 lockdown.

10. Voices for a sustainable tertiary education sector

On Tuesday 17 November, TEU, Te Wānanga Aronui o Tāmaki Makaurau | Auckland University of Technology (AUT) and The New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) hosted the Voices of Tertiary Education – Internationalisation Forum 2020 at AUT.