All future policy and funding should be based on the understanding that an accessible, fully funded and quality tertiary education sector is a core part of people’s everyday lives.That’s the advice staff working in the sector have given to the Education Minister Chris Hipkins in a report published as part of national education conversation, Kōrero Mātauranga.Presented to the Minister at a meeting with the Tertiary Education Union earlier this week, Voices from Tertiary Education illustrates the strong connection people studying and working in the sector have to the Government’s commitment to build a better New Zealand.Tertiary education staff are involved in training the people who go on to play hugely important roles in our daily lives – whether it is the builders that build our homes, the doctors or nurses that care for us, the teachers that teach our kids, or the people that cut our hair and fix our cars, or those that are dedicated to ensuring we have clean running water and reliable power.People interact with the tertiary education sector every day of their lives. To support the Government in delivering on the commitments it has made – not only in education but in all other areas - TEU asked students and staff a simple question: “If you were the Minister for Education, how would you change tertiary education?”Voices from Tertiary Education is a summary of the thoughts and ideas TEU received. The report reflects both the dedication staff have to their students and their profession, and to creating a better future for education in New Zealand.

“One thing students and staff share in common with the Education Minister is a deep commitment to quality public education. Because of this, and the experience they have of studying and working in the sector, students and staff have the expertise to advise the Minister on what he needs to do rebuild the tertiary education sector so it can equip people with the knowledge and skills we desperately need as a nation,” Nanette Cormack, deputy secretary of the TEU, said.

The Minister has a great foundation from which to do this – and that’s the pride people working in the sector have in giving their students the best possible opportunity to succeed.Yesterday, the Minister released an initial report from the national education conversation. It shows that one of the major themes emerging from the conversation was the need for greater equity in the education system. The TEU will shortly release a report setting out principles to guide the funding of the tertiary education sector, and equity will be a core part of what will be put forward.The need to address a range of workforce issues is also evident from the first analysis of the conversation. In tertiary education that includes addressing excessive workloads, and getting rid of measures such as the Performance Based Funding Review and the Education Performance Indicators, both of which cause significant stress for staff.