Hau Taki Haere | Tertiary Update
The Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE) announcements made yesterday by Minister Hipkins marks a significant day for the future of tertiary education in New Zealand.
At the beginning of this journey, the Tertiary Education Union | Te Hautū Kahurangi (TEU) was aware the review and subsequent reforms would provide a once in a life time opportunity to right the wrongs made over more than a decade of uncertainty, underfunding and divisive policies, that damaged some of the institutions to the detriment of staff, their families and most importantly education and learning in New Zealand.
Throughout 2018, the Ministry of Education (MoE) and the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) engaged with vocational education and training sector stakeholders, including learners employers, iwi, business, industry groups, local government, education and training providers and their staff, and a variety of peak bodies. The TEU was there every step of the way, holding all-staff meetings at every ITP across New Zealand, ensuring the concerns of members were heard at the highest levels of the conversation.
But for members, the conversation did not begin in 2018. The questions asked of the review, and the solutions proposed through the reforms have been a part of an ongoing conversation which the TEU membership has led on campuses around Aotearoa. This conversation always emphasised a commitment to quality public tertiary education, accessible and available to all across the country. We set out a vision of a sector that is adequately resourced, one that values effective collaboration and the contribution all staff and local communities, and one that energises regional communities and plays to their strengths.
Key to ensuring the success of these reforms, the success of education in both our regions and main centres, and the success of the new national Institute, will be ensuring professional decision making remains at the level of the region, rather than the centre. The decision to legislate for the inclusion of staff and student representatives on council is a key step, but we must also be active in informing the new structures so that students and staff are not only represented, but heard.
For the staff and students, change will not be immediate, there will remain uncertainty in the short term, and we will face a number of challenges. This is a big step for the sector, but one which is closer to where we collectively see the future of tertiary education in New Zealand. A step closer to having high quality, accessible public tertiary education that is available to students wherever they live, to polytechnics which are part of a nationwide, tiered network of provision.
This is a once in life time opportunity and our TEU members, our staff and students, need to be there, to continue to be part of the conversation and a part of shaping the new system and Institute.
It will not be rolled out initially in its finished form. It is a process that is going to require continued input and consideration from our members as the professionals, experts and knowledge leaders in the sector. We need to make the time to ensure that member voices – allied and general staff, and academic staff, together alongside students - are engaged in this process to ensure that the end result is going to be the delivery of better education and opportunities for all staff, students, whānau, hāpu, iwi and communities across New Zealand.
Also in this weeks update:
Proposal for cuts at Whitireia and WelTec must be withdrawn - TEU
AUT scraps Tiananmen Square event - Newsroom
Education International makes statement on Technical and Vocational Education and Training - EI