Press Release – NZ Union of Students’ Associations
Todays release of the National Governments draft Tertiary Education Strategy for 2014-2019 is at risk of being sidelined by Minister Steven Joyces unilateral move to shut down the representative model currently in place for University Councils, …NZUSA Media Release – Wednesday 2 October 2013
Substance of Tertiary Education Strategy at risk of being sidelined
Today’s release of the National Government’s draft Tertiary Education Strategy for 2014-2019 is at risk of being sidelined by Minister Steven Joyce’s unilateral move to shut down the representative model currently in place for University Councils, says the NZ Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA).
“Under Steven Joyce the biggest shift in the strategy has been to shift it further away from his tertiary education portfolio and closer to the inward facing Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) portfolio he also holds,” says Pete Hodkinson, NZUSA President.
“The strategy put out today shows the conflation of the two – it’s as much an MBIE strategy as it is an MoE strategy.
“While it’s certainly important for a close relationship to be maintained between the worlds of education and business where relevant, and while it’s important to ensure strong ties between Tertiary Education Organisations and industry partners, we have to ask questions when it begins to go too far. At what point does the Ministry of Education lose its fundamental stewardship of Tertiary Education?”
“By simultaneously announcing a skewed process to downsize University councils and push students away from the table the appears has also chosen to distract people from the Tertiary Education Strategy, now open for feedback until Friday 15th November.
“At today’s announcement the Minister did at least signal to Victoria University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor Penny Boumelha that he will directly take heed of and respond to any notes sent to him about pronounced flaws of emphasis or substance in the Tertiary Education Strategy now that consultation has opened,” says Hodkinson.
“On behalf of its members and all tertiary students NZUSA has a number of issues being omitted from the direction of tertiary education that it will be taking to the Minister before consultation closes on November 15th.
“We accept the Minister’s assurance today that the word ‘refuse’ is too strong a word for his position on the absence of any formal meeting with students’ association reps or the Tertiary Education Union in nearly two years, and look forward to a further assurance given today that he will meet with NZUSA within the next month”.