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AUS Tertiary Update Vol. 5 No. 41, 7 Nov 2002

In our lead story this week…..
Findings released on investigations into Practical Education Training Centre
The AUS has again questioned the continued funding of private tertiary education providers after investigations into the Practical Education Training Centre (PETC) confirmed that a number of its students have misused the Student Loan Scheme, and that PETC had failed to report this to the Government.
An investigation revealed that PETC breached its annual funding notice by not immediately informing Government about the suspected abuse and the extent of it; that training materials were not suitable for distance learning by second chance learners and that there were no suitable procedures in place to identify the suitability of courses for students applying to enrol; and that a number of students had misused their student loans. It appeared that in some cases there had been a deliberate intention by students to defraud the scheme.
AUS President, Dr Grant Duncan, said that PETC had received $5.4 million in Government funding in 2001 and will continue to be funded. “Their continued funding raises serious questions about the use of public funds to subsidise organisations who appear to be providing training primarily for the money rather than education”, he said.

Also in Tertiary Update this week
1. Keen interest in Canterbury VC post
2. 3.5% salary offer at Victoria
3. NZMA Chair appointed Dean at Otago School of Medicine
4. Otago Continues Case Against AUS
5. Australian VC’s salaries spiral
6. University staff in London to strike

Keen interest in Canterbury VC post
Nine frontrunners have been selected from a field of 53 potential candidates for further consideration for the vice chancellorship of Canterbury University. The “long” short-list of candidates followed an international search to fill the position recently vacated by Professor Daryl Le Grew. Employment consultants, Sheffield, centred their search on the academic sector with the specific focus being on those currently holding deputy or Vice Chancellor positions.
University of Canterbury Chancellor, Dame Phyllis Gudhardt, said there is a strong field of candidates who are of a consistently high quality. Dame Phyllis said, “… perhaps early in 2003, there will be focussed consultation with selected groups drawn from academic staff/Academic Board, management, the general staff and students to provide assistance to the Council in making the final appointment.”
AUS Branch President, Jane Guise, said she hoped that the consultation with staff would be open and genuine given that the Chancellor had made strong statements about the need for total confidentiality of candidate information in the process.

3.5% salary offer at Victoria
Collective agreement negotiations have concluded at Victoria University following a 3.5% salary offer to staff. This offer will be put to ratification meetings on 19 November as part of a package which also includes the establishment of workload policies for general and academic staff, the inclusion of language assistants in the academic staff collective, and a reduction in trial re-redeployment periods from nine months to six. A separate agreement has been agreed for Heads of School.
Negotiations are due to resume at Waikato University on Tuesday 12 November where it is expected a revised salary offer will be made to academic staff and general staff. Last week Waikato staff voted to take protest action after rejecting a 2.5% salary offer.

In non-university sectors, unions and employers are predicting significant wage rises as a result of New Zealand's labour shortage. The secretary of the Council of Trade Unions, Paul Goulter, says if wages don't rise, skilled workers will abandon New Zealand for better rewards overseas. “New Zealand wages are 26% lower than those in Australia" he said. "They are too low to attract and retain labour. "

NZMA Chair appointed Dean at Otago School of Medicine
Dr John Adams, Chair of the New Zealand Medical Association, is to become Dean of the Otago School of Medicine next year. Dr Adams completed his medical training at Otago, graduating in 1976 and going on to become a fellow of the royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists in 1984. He is currently completing a two-year term as Chair of NZMA.

Otago continues case against AUS
The Employment Court will hear a case being brought against AUS by the University of Otago on 12 and 13 December. The University has amended its position, asking the Court to determine whether a union has to notify whether a strike will be “intermittent or continuous” and giving a description of the “group of employees involved according to their membership of a union, occupation or other relevant characteristics.” The case will be heard before a full bench of the court.

World Watch
Australian VC’s salaries spiral
A report in Melbourne’s Age newspaper that RMIT’s Vice Chancellor was granted almost $80,000 in pay rises and bonuses while the university was experiencing severe problems due to a failed computer overhaul is graphic evidence that the salaries of Australian university VCs are getting out of control, the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) has said.
“While Vice Chancellors’ salaries are not publicised, information gathered from annual reports suggests that top level executive salaries at Victorian universities, including Vice Chancellors, have grown up to 61% from 1995 to 2001,” said Mathew McGowan, NTEU Victorian Secretary.
“These increases are symptomatic of the increasing commercialisation of universities, resulting in Vice Chancellors acting more like the CEOs of major corporations,” said McGowan.

University staff in London to strike
A strike by London university and college staff is set to hit an estimated 120,000 students in greater London next week in a dispute over a London salary weighting. Ballot results, from three tertiary sector unions, saw a 75% vote in favour of a shutdown on Thursday 14 November.
A London weighting for university staff has long been a bone of contention, with staff at the University of London having their allowance frozen since 1992. Higher education workers have one of the lowest London weightings of all public servants. Staff at the University of London receive just £2,134 while staff at the post-92 universities earn anywhere between £603-£2,355.

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AUS Tertiary Update is compiled weekly on Thursdays and distributed freely to members of the union and others. Back issues are archived on the AUS website: Direct enquires to Marty Braithwaite, AUS Communications Officer, email:

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