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AUS Tertiary Update, Vol.3 No.6

AUS website
MINISTRY SUBMISSION ANALYSIS CAUSES CONCERN
Concern has been expressed at reports that submissions on the terms of reference for the Tertiary Education Advisory Commission (TEAC) are being analysed by Ministry of Education officials.
In a letter to Associate Minister of Tertiary Education, Steve Maharey, AUS National President, Neville Blampied says this gives rise to a possible conflict of interest.
The letter says the AUS lacks confidence in the capacity of the Ministry to analyse issues in tertiary education and make policy judgements for the sector and suggests this might have been an appropriate occasion to engage outside consultants.
Neville Blampied says if the Ministry is to proceed with this analysis, then there must be clear directives as to how this process is conducted.
“We believe that key stakeholders in the sector should be given the opportunity to review and comment on the Ministry’s analysis before their recommendations are formally endorsed by you.”
Tertiary Update believes that, whatever the outcome, TEAC members, once appointed, should receive copies of all submissions made, together with the analysis of them, so that they can draw their own conclusions.

Also in Tertiary Update this week:
1. Singapore Campus Here?
2. R&D Public Funding to be Restored
3. AAU Reports on Academic Freedom

SINGAPORE CAMPUS HERE?
The possibility that the Government might allow the National University of Singapore to establish a campus in New Zealand under the free trade agreement currently being contemplated is seen as being at odds with the Government’s tertiary education policy.
AUS Immediate-Past President, Professor Jane Kelsey, says the policy seeks not to expand the number of tertiary institutions operating in New Zealand and to refocus tertiary education on New Zealand’s needs.
AUS has requested the release of relevant documents under the Official Information Act.

R&D PUBLIC FUNDING TO BE RESTORED
Restoring public funding of research and development to 0.8% of GDP by 2010 was among science and technology priorities set out by Minister of Research, Science and Technology Pete Hodgson this week.
Encouraging more private sector research and improving the direction of strategic research were also mentioned.
Speaking in Dunedin at the invitation of the Otago Institute of the Royal Society, Mr Hodgson said he would like to see private sector research and development spending significantly increased by 2010.
“Getting public funding back on track to this goal should send a powerful leadership signal to the private sector.”
Mr Hodgson said the Government was committed to increasing basic research funding through the New Economy Research Fund and the Marsden Fund. He said the Public Good Science Fund, which pays for strategic research in Crown Research Institutes, universities and the private sector was not yet adequately evaluated and its assessment would have to be improved.

AAU REPORTS ON ACADEMIC FREEDOM
The Academic Audit Unit has released the sixth monograph in its Series on Quality – Universities as Critic and Conscience of Society: The Role of Academic Freedom.
The report, written by D. Gareth Jones, Kerry Galvin and David Woodhouse, notes that there are many threats to academic freedom, both from within the university’s own ranks and from outside its walls. The AAU confirms the crucial importance of the dual ‘critic and conscience’ roles to universities and states its serious commitment to continue to monitor the performance of New Zealand universities in this respect.
The report, whose printing was sponsored in part by AUS, can be obtained from the Academic Audit Unit (cost $20 + gst) – email janice.b@aau.ac.nz

WORLD WATCH

 BETTER DEAL FOR PART-TIME ACADEMIC STAFF IN UK
Part-time academic staff in the UK will benefit from new government regulations granting them terms and conditions equivalent to their full-time colleagues on a pro rata basis. Malcolm Keight, assistant general secretary of the Association of University Teachers, said “the regulations when finalised will go a long way to support the Association’s aims in securing fair treatment for part-time staff”.

 FAMILY EXPENDITURE ON HIGHER ED IN CANADA SOARS
Canadian families are increasingly finding the prospect of university education for their children moving beyond their reach. The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) has released a report ‘Out of Reach: Trends in Household Spending on Education’ which shows that between 1992 and 1998, education-related expenditures were the most rapidly-rising component of all household spending, growing by nearly 40 percent when adjusted for inflation. By contrast, total household spending on all items rose less than 4 percent over this same period.
CAUT President Bill Graham said that soaring costs mean many Canadian families may have already rejected the idea of their children pursuing post-secondary education. “Governments must address the basic cause of the problem – the cuts to core public funding of Canada’s colleges and universities,” he said.


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AUS Tertiary Update is produced weekly on Fridays and distributed freely to members of the union and others. Back issues are archived on the AUS website: . Direct enquiries to Rob Crozier, AUS executive director. Email: rob.crozier@aus.ac.nz.

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