Over October, TEU made three submissions to Government, including a Submission on Kōrero Mātauranga Tertiary Student Voice, Submission on Education (Vocational Education and Training Reform) Amendment Bill, and a Submission on the Review of the Performance-Based Research Fund.

Written in support of a submission made by the NZUSA, the TEU Submission on Tertiary Student Voice outlines how the current system of student voice and representation in Aotearoa is tokenistic, non-inclusive and inconsistent across the country. The Submission states how if we want to move towards a model in which students and their ideas and opinions are heard and valued then students and staff alike need to speak up in support of increased democracy within our institutions and for meaningful engagement with students as partners in their education.

Key recommendations from the TEU Submission on Tertiary Student Voice include the establishment of a National Centre for Student Voice to ensure tertiary education institutions are complying with their student voice requirements, and increased representation by and support of students across student voice systems.

The Submission on Education (Vocational Education and Training Reform) Amendment Bill states TEU’s support for the intent of government to create a unified and cohesive network of vocationally focused public tertiary education provision, but recommends a refocusing of the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Training (NZIST) Charter so that it gives effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Other recommendations include putting tauira|learners and learning needs as the prime focus of the Charter, ensuring that all parties recognised in the Bill are required to focus on the delivery of social, economic, environmental, cultural and human well-being; and ensuring all parties recognised in the Bill simultaneously focus on regional and national needs.

The TEU Submission on the Review of the Performance-Based Research Fund draws from a report prepared by TEU titled Reviewing Performance Funding in the Tertiary Education Sector (2019). The submission states how TEU members firmly believe there needs to be accountability to the public for its investment in tertiary education, and acknowledge that the Performance-Based Research Fund (PBRF) is one way of achieving this. However, since its inception 15 years ago, the PBRF model has resulted in a number of unintended consequences and perverse outcomes that have negatively impacted staff in the sector, research-led teaching, and the research system as a whole.

The TEU recommends that the cumulative underfunding of the tertiary education sector and comparatively low expenditure on research needs to be addressed if we are to meet current and future opportunities, priorities, challenges, and meet the social and economic needs of New Zealanders. The submission also recommends that a revised funding model should make use of existing systems of assessing and reporting, must move away from the individual as the unit of assessment, and must change the frequency of the quality evaluation to 12 years thereby reducing costs overall without impacting the effectiveness of the fund, or how funding is distributed.

The TEU would like to thank all our members who have shared their expertise and knowledge for recent submissions made by TEU. Together we have and will continue to achieve so much. Thank you all for your contributions and for the passion you have for quality teaching, learning, research, and democracy within our Tertiary Education Institutions.