University staff oppose Unitec-AUT merger
The proposed merger of Auckland University of Technology and Unitec, to form a single “university” has been denounced by the Association of University Staff [AUS] for making a mockery of the goals of university education. AUS expects that the Government will say “no” to the merger when it makes its final decision on the matter.
“While Unitec does offer degrees, to become a university they must either abandon their very useful role in trades training and vocational skill development, or retain those trade certificates and make the status of university virtually meaningless,” said Dr Grant Duncan, AUS National President.
Dr Duncan asked whether Unitec should be allowed to get university status by the “back door” method of merging with an existing university.
AUS understands that the proposal for the merger will have to go through the new Tertiary Education Commission, that public consultation is required, and that final approval must be given by the Associate Minister of Education [Tertiary].
Dr Duncan commented that, “New Zealand does not need a further university campus, and the proposal for the AUT-Unitec merger would do nothing to achieve the national goals of improving vocational skills and of raising the quality of university education. We would be better served by focusing on achieving world-class university standards on the one hand, and practical technical skills development on the other. This means keeping clear institutional boundaries around those different missions.”
Dr Grant Duncan: 021 680 475, 09 443 9700 ext 9086
Margaret Ledgerton: 04 915 6695