Hau Taki Haere | Tertiary Update Vol 23, No 12

Tertiary Education Union - Te Hautū Kahurangi o Aotearoa (TEU) Te Tumu Whakarae-National President Michael Gilchrist reflects on recent gains made by the TEU. He calls on members to continue working together to argue for high quality, publicly funded, tertiary education that is equally accessible to all New Zealanders, and to spread the message that it is only through a collective voice that we can achieve these gains.

Together TEU members can make our polytechnics, universities, wānanga and community education providers great places to study and work.

Acting together TEU has convinced the current Labour-led government that the free market model and managerialism have led to poor outcomes for all.

This has resulted in a number of wins. These include: a major shake-up in the vocational education sector affecting thousands of TEU members; a thorough review of the performance-based research fund; and a fundamental rewrite of the Tertiary Education Strategy.

Many TEU members have already contributed their expertise on these topics through meetings we organised in the union. Now, we all need to follow this up and increase our efforts. To win the changes we need, we must repeat our message - then repeat and repeat it again.

At our annual conference, the Minister of Education Chris Hipkins said,

“We share the TEU’s passion for ensuring that we’ve got high quality, thriving public education in New Zealand. We believe that every New Zealander deserves equal access to quality education and training throughout their lives, so they can realise their potential and participate fully in our economy and in our society”.

We must still convince others – particularly other MPs and coalition partners, as well as senior leaders in our institutions - that equal access to quality education and training is the future.

TEU members can help by:

· Sharing the latest two TEU discussion documents with TEU members – and interested non-members in your workplaces. The Tertiary Education Strategy Discussion Paper and RoVE discussion paper

· Presenting copies to your local MP and advocating for the key changes these documents recommend.

· Presenting copies to senior leaders in your institution and advocating for the key changes these documents recommend.

There are a number of ways we can spread our message, but a strength of ours is our ability to personalise and humanise our shared interests. Face-to face interactions work best when lobbying – just as they do when teaching students. Taking colleagues with us also makes the meeting more enjoyable and effective.

In meetings we need to state what we value: high quality, publicly funded tertiary education that is equally accessible to all New Zealanders, throughout our lives – just as Minister Hipkins put it.

We need to identify the problems we currently face – we who work in teaching, learning and research know better than anyone what these are. We are the experts in tertiary education.

Finally, we need to state the solutions to these problems – for a start, being part of the union action - and then the key recommendations contained in the relevant documents (above).

Together we have achieved so much, but there is more to be done. We have shown time and again what can be achieved when we act as one. Let’s bring others onboard in our journey toward a tertiary education sector that is transformative, that values both staff and students, that empowers communities and that works for all New Zealanders.

Also in this edition:

     1. Striking for a fair return on their hard work

     2. Union action and social change in Aotearoa New Zealand

     3. Time for fair pay for professional staff

     4. Standing together against uncertainty

     5. Tertiary Education Sector Forum to be held in August

Other news

     Wintec staff feel unappreciated during 'difficult' period - Stuff

     Wintec academic staff 'want a fair return on their hard work' - Voxy

     David Cohen: The fall of 'higher' education? - RNZ