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AUS Tertiary Update Vol 4 No 11

The AUS National President, Neville Blampied has blamed the funding crisis facing the university sector for the failure of medical education to keep pace with salaries in the hospital system. In a letter to the Minister of Health, Annette King, he says AUS has tried for many years to negotiate salaries that are competitive with those in public hospitals, but has been unable to make progress because of the widespread funding crisis in the university sector. Mr Blampied lays the blame for the funding crisis squarely with "deliberate government action over more than a decade". He points out that the quality of the health system depends on maintaining high quality medical education and research. He says, however, that the capacity of both New Zealand's medical schools to deliver graduates trained to the highest international standards is now seriously under threat. "We need immediate action to close the enormous gaps that have developed between academic and state and private sector salaries, and to restore investment in quality university education across the board," he says. Mr Blampied calls on Mrs King to support AUS efforts to reverse the damage done by the past decade of "severe underfunding".
The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Otago, Professor Graeme Fogelberg has also written to the Minister of Health advising her of the growing crisis in the Otago University Medical School because it is unable to offer salaries on a par with those enjoyed by public and private hospital staff in New Zealand and overseas.

Also in Tertiary Update this week:
1. Minister releases papers on CIT closure
2. ASTE battles to save CIT staff jobs
3. "College of Education" to stay
4. End of strike by academic staff in Hawaii

The Minister in charge of Tertiary Education, Steve Maharey has released official papers on which he based his decision that the Central Institute of Technology (CIT) be disestablished and combined with Hutt Valley Polytechnic (HVP) to form the Wellington Institute of Technology. Mr Maharey said he was making public the Ministry of Education's recommendation paper and its analysis of public submissions on the HVP/CIT combination. An independent analysis of the feasibility of operating from both the Petone and Heretaunga sites has also been released. He said he was releasing the information to " to promote the transparency of the decision taken on CIT’s future". The papers can be viewed at the Ministry of Education website: The Minister says a small amount of information has been withheld from the Ministry's recommendation paper because of commercial considerations. The Minister also points out that the cost to the Crown of combining the two institutions is $5m less than stated in the recommendation paper.
Meanwhile, a working party has been established by Government to come up with options for the future of the CIT site at Heretaunga, bearing in mind Upper Hutt's regional development needs. The terms of reference for the working party are to be published before the end of this month.

The union representing CIT staff, the Association of Staff in Tertiary Education (ASTE) is angry that the 220 odd staff at CIT staff are to be declared redundant under the move. About 120
will be offered jobs with the Wellington Institute of Technology [WIT], but in a news release, the Association says the "consultation" document given to staff makes it clear that they will have to apply for the WIT jobs and go through an interview process with outside consultants. ASTE is arguing that where a course is to be retained, staff should simply transfer across on their current salary and conditions. If there is a competitive situation, it says, then the "normal surplus staffing processes" should apply. ASTE says those CIT staff accepting jobs at the WIT are also being required to waive all rights to redundancy, even though they may be offered jobs on less favourable conditions.ASTE is also sceptical about the working party brief to come up with suggestions as to uses for the CIT Heretaunga campus. It would, the Association says, be "a prime site to be sold off to a trans-national private language school with its superb hostel facilities and excellent lecture theatres.

The Government says it will not act on the Tertiary Education Advisory Commission's (TEAC) recommendation that the term "college of education" no longer be subject to legal protection. The Minister, Steve Maharey gave the assurance to tertiary education sector leaders as the consultation process on TEAC's "Sharing the System" report drew to a close. Mr Maharey said he did not believe TEAC had suggested the legal protection be removed as part of any attempt to undermine the colleges. Rather, he said, it was a case of the Commission believing that the term did not need to be protected. The Minister said the debate generated over that particular recommendation had "risked diverting attention from the main task of developing a framework which can prepare the tertiary education system for a lead role in developing New Zealand as a knowledge economy and society." For that reason, he said he would not be taking the proposal to Cabinet. "Essentially, if the Colleges and their students feel it is important to them that the term continue to protected, then it will be," he said.


University of Hawaii’s staff union, an affiliate of the National Education Association [NEA], has reached a contract settlement with the State, ending a 13-day strike on the system’s 10 campuses. The 3,100 members of the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly had joined a strike by 13,000 members of the Hawaii State Teachers’ Association. The strike -- which began about two weeks ago -- was the first time the entire education system in a US state has staged a joint strike. The issues under dispute were salary, workload equivalencies for community college faculty, and pay for lecturers. Faculty members went out in strength on the picket lines, including more than 850 people a day at the University of Hawaii's Manoa campus. Hawaii ranks 50th in State appropriations for higher education and salaries are lower than for similar institutions elsewhere in the country. Full professors at the University of Hawaii earn an average of $US77,300, compared with the national average of $US89,800 among doctoral institutions. The tentative settlement includes a flat rate increase in the first year, a 6% increase in the second, a 3% increase for lecturers in both years.

AUS Executive Director, Rob Crozier, at the request of the NEA, has been in Hawaii helping with the organisation of the strike by academic staff.

AUS Tertiary Update is produced weekly on Thursdays and distributed freely to members of the union and others. Back issues are archived on the AUS website:

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