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Vic Students Welcome TEAC Report

Student representatives at Victoria University have welcomed the release of the latest report of the Tertiary Education Advisory Commission, Shaping the System. Students' Association President Chris Hipkins said the report marked a welcome end to the competitive era in tertiary education, although the report also raises a number of questions that will need careful consideration.

"We support the establishment of a permanent Tertiary Education Commission to act as a moderating body within the sector, however we are concerned about the political nature of the appointment process for commissioners and the implications this will have on institutional autonomy and academic freedom," Chris Hipkins said.

"The strengthening of institutional Charters and the introduction of institutional profiles is a welcome move towards a more planned and cooperative tertiary sector. The move away from the pure EFTS funding regime that encouraged tertiary providers to "poach" each others students is also excellent news," Mr. Hipkins said.

"We will be watching closely the development of 'Centres and Networks of Excellence' and the implications this will have for universities such as Victoria,"

"We are concerned that a greater emphasis on funding science and technology has considerable implications for a university like Victoria whose natural strengths are in the humanities and social sciences," Mr. Hipkins said.

"We are also concerned about what will happen to departments and schools within universities that are not considered centres of excellence. Specialisation relies on a high degree of student mobility, and will require greater financial support for students in the form of allowances," Mr. Hipkins said.

Mr Hipkins concluded by saying the TEAC report was a step in the right direction, but continues to raise a number of additional questions that will take time to work through.

Chris Hipkins President Victoria University of Wellington Students' Association (Inc.) Te Ropu Tauira o te Kura Wananga o te Upoko o te Ika a Maui

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