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AUS Tertiary Update Vol.3 No.22

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AUS Tertiary Update Vol. 3 No. 22, 28 July 2000
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VICTORIA DELEGATION MEETS MINISTERS
A delegation of representatives across the tertiary sector met Hon Trevor Mallard and Hon Steve Maharey yesterday to discuss the effects of the Government’s reneging on its commitment to move away from the universal tertiary tuition allowance introduced by the previous government.
The representatives were Victoria University Chancellor, Hon. Russell Marshall; Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Roy Sharp; AUS Branch President, Dr Kate Hunter; Professor of Geology and Director of the Antarctic Research Centre, Professor Peter Barrett; Student President, Chris Hipkins; together with AUS National President, Neville Blampied and NZVCC Executive Director, Lindsay Taiaroa.
Government funding per equivalent fulltime student at Victoria has fallen from $6621 in 1998 to $5944 in 2000 – a decline of 10.2% in just two years. The Ministers heard that Victoria had been particularly badly hit by the 1998 Budget decision to reduce the funding for taught masters programmes. “This zero sum game has led to serious threats to Victoria University’s human capital through redundancies and retrenchment, especially in the sciences,” Neville Blampied told the Ministers.
Professor Barrett advised the Ministers that the numbers-based formula of the present funding system was detrimental to small advanced undergraduate and graduate teaching programmes, and to graduate student research. He said earth science programmes were under enormous pressure.
The twin problems of underfunding and lack of a suitable planning horizon were making it impossible for universities to fulfil their proper strategic role in New Zealand’s economy.

Also in Tertiary Update this week:
1. Select Committee Soon on the Road
2. Limiting Universities Bill On Hold
3. AUT Becomes Fifth University to Accept Deal

SELECT COMMITTEE SOON ON THE ROAD
The Education and Science Select Committee will soon begin hearing public submissions on the student loan scheme and the resourcing of tertiary education.
Over 2,000 submissions were received by the closing date. The Committee will be travelling around the country to hear them.
Committee Chair, Liz Gordon, advised AUS this week that she anticipated delivering the Select Committee’s report on its findings early next year, in time for any funding implications to be considered in next year’s Budget.
Submissions were made by the AUS, the Canterbury branch of AUS, and one on behalf of medical and dental staff.

LIMITING UNIVERSITIES BILL ON HOLD
The Chair of the Education and Science Select Committee has confirmed reports that the Education (Limiting Number of Universities) Bill is now on hold.
Associate Minister of Tertiary Education, Steve Maharey, felt that the purpose of the Bill has been met now that Unitec has agreed to defer its application, pending the TEAC review of the future shape of the sector. Given our submission that the Bill limit only the number of public universities, calls into question whether the Bill was correctly named in the first place. The Bill is not likely to be reported back to the House until next year at the earliest.

AUT BECOMES FIFTH UNIVERSITY TO ACCEPT DEAL
Auckland University of Technology Council voted unanimously this week to stabilise student fees for 2001 in exchange for a 2.3% funding increase offered by the Government.
AUSM President Michael Heard welcomed the move, stating “student fees at AUT have risen an average of 14.4% every year since 1993. This is the first time in nearly a decade that AUT students can plan for the year ahead without the financial uncertainty caused by erratic fee increases."
Tertiary Update notes that the institutions themselves are still not able to plan ahead!

WORLD WATCH

PROBLEMS CONTINUE FOR USP
The University of the South Pacific has denied claims that the institution is experiencing mass resignations from academics due to Fiji's political crisis, the Fiji Sun reports. Rumours that lecturers and professors are leaving the country have been brushed aside.
Faxed questions to the Registrar, Sarojini Pillay, remained unanswered.
However, sources from USP have said that resignations have been coming from all departments not just from lecturers and professors. "It's not a secret that some lecturers have resigned and have left but that hasn't put USP in a critical situation," one of the sources said.
Many students have, however, highlighted their insecurity about their academic future.
The resignations were not expected to have a negative impact on the second semester teaching programme, but power cuts of up to two hours, three times a day at the University continue.
It has also been reported that Education Ministers from the member countries that are served by USP may recommend that the university be moved out of Fiji for the safety of students and staff.

BRAIN DRAIN WILL OUTLIVE THE £100,000 LECTURER
The British Government has identified the serious problem of Britain's brain drain, but has not yet identified the solution, says Association of University Teachers general secretary David Triesman.
“You can pay a few lecturers £100,000 a year and you will still have a brain drain”, said Mr Triesman. “It's not just a few top academics in a few specialist fields who we are losing. It's a very large number of very good people in all subjects.”
Mr Triesman said an examination of the whole system and level of lecturers’ pay was necessary for Britain to remain a major academic player internationally.
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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:

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