Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search


Educators Condemn Compulsory Student Unions



Speaking on behalf of the Education Forum, John Morris, Headmaster of Auckland Grammar School, said proposed changes to legislation on tertiary students' associations would in effect be a return to compulsory membership.

The legislation announced recently by Trevor Mallard, Minister of Education, would provide that students enrolled in an institution with voluntary membership may vote to return to compulsory membership if the student body receives a petition signed by 10 percent of students. Also an existing students' association representing at least 50 percent of students may vote to do so. Membership fees would be collected automatically by the tertiary provider on behalf of the association.

"While the details are not entirely clear, the legislation will in effect be a return to the anachronism of compulsory student membership. Like lots of other associations, tertiary students' associations exist to provide representational and other services to members. The vast majority of associations are voluntary and legislative compulsion is undesirable except in exceptional cases, for instance where health or safety is an issue. No basis for exceptional treatment exists in the case of student associations. To the contrary, higher education should be characterised by individual and intellectual freedom. Vesting coercive powers in student bodies is totally unwarranted and undemocratic.

"As is the case with other service providers, membership of student associations should rise or fall on the basis of the quality and cost of their services. Compulsion forces students to join associations whose services they may not want or whose views they may not share. It is abhorrent that students should be forced to contribute resources to associations whose views on political or moral issues they may strongly disagree with.

"Compulsion ensures the survival of poorly-run associations offering high cost services. There is no reason to believe voluntary associations cannot prosper on the basis of quality services which members actually want and at competitive prices."


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

Legendary Bassist David Friesen Plays Wellington’s Newest Jazz Venue

Friesen is touring New Zealand to promote his latest album Another Time, Another Place, recorded live at Auckland's Creative Jazz Club in 2015. More>>

Howard Davis Review: The Father - Descending Into The Depths of Dementia

Florian Zeller's dazzling drama The Father explores the effects of a deeply unsettling illness that affects 62,000 Kiwis, a number expected to grow to 102,000 by 2030. More>>

Howard Davis Review: Blade Runner Redivivus

When Ridley Scott's innovative, neo-noir, sci-fi flick Blade Runner was originally released in 1982, at a cost of over $45 million, it was a commercial bomb. More>>

14-21 October: New Zealand Improv Festival In Wellington

Imagined curses, Shibuya’s traffic, the apocalypse, and motherhood have little in common, but all these and more serve as inspiration for the eclectic improvised offerings coming to BATS Theatre this October for the annual New Zealand Improv Festival. More>>


Bird Of The Year Off To A Flying Start

The competition asks New Zealanders to vote for their favourite bird in the hopes of raising awareness of the threats they face. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books:
Jenny Abrahamson's John & Charles Enys: Castle Hill Runholders, 1864-1891

This volume will be of interest to a range of readers interested in the South Island high country, New Zealand’s natural environment, and the history of science. More>>