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AUS Tertiary Update Vol. 6 No. 4, 20 Feb 2003

In our lead story this week¡K
Settlement Reached at Canterbury University
Union members at Canterbury University have voted to ratify their collective agreements after an improved pay offer from the University management received last Friday 14 February.
The negotiation team recommended ratification of the 2.8% increase saying they would be looking for a commitment from the new Vice Chancellor and his management team to enter into a genuine dialogue with the AUS and other unions over the future of the University. This settlement is the final settlement in the national round begun by AUS in 2002 and leaves the way clear for the initiation of multi employer collective agreement(MECA) bargaining in August.
¡§Once again, we have completed a successful national bargaining round that has seen each university take careful note of the settlements at other universities.¡¨ said National President Bill Rosenberg. ¡§The only part missing from this bargaining is the Government, which has the major responsibility for funding.¡¨ he said. ¡§The MECA will put the Government in the bargaining picture and focus attention on its role in bargaining outcomes.¡¨ he said.

Also in Tertiary Update this week:
1. Tertiary Education Commission launched
2. Two More Centres of Excellence
3. International Trade Union Conference Opens
4. Economic Benefits of Secondary and Higher Education
5. Market reforms get nod

Tertiary Education Commission Launched
The launch of the Tertiary Education Commission on 13 February signals a fresh commitment to equipping New Zealanders with the skills, imagination and learning opportunities to confidently take their place in the world, says Steve Maharey, Minister responsible for the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC).
The TEC is a crown entity established under new legislation and is responsible for achieving the vision and objectives set out in the Tertiary Education Strategy. ¡§The Tertiary Education Commission will work closely with stakeholders across the sector to implement the Tertiary Education Strategy,¡¨ says Steve Maharey.
AUS representatives attended the launch of the TEC and welcomed the Prime Ministers comments that education was more than a mere commodity. In her speech the Prime Minister said ¡§Put simply, an educated, knowledgeable community is likely to be a more interesting, tolerant, and outward looking community. I stand strongly for the role of education in producing well rounded, highly literate, well informed New Zealanders, who are aware of the world around us, of history, of cultural heritage, and of the great ideas and philosophies which have driven humankind. Education can never be reduced to a mere economic input. It has the potential to transform the lives of individuals and whole communities. Its focus must be broad and empowering, not narrow and confining.¡¨

Two More Centres of Excellence
The signing of contracts establishing two further Centres of Research Excellence means all seven of these new research centres are now up and running.
Overall, the Government has allocated $123m in a mix of operating and capital funding for both the new centres and the five centres established in 2002.
The Royal Society has negotiated funding for the new Centres as follows.
„h The National Centre for Advanced Bio-Protection Technologies: $9.616m over four years and a one-off capital grant of up to $5.729m;
„h The National Research Centre for Growth and Development: $13.057m over four years and a one-off capital grant of up to $5.226m.

International Trade Union Conference Opens
Over 500 women are in Melbourne this week for the 8th World Women's Conference of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU). They bring together the issues facing 63 million women in trade unions from 148 countries across the globe. The NZ delegation is headed by the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions vice-president Darien Fenton. The NZ Prime Minister opened the conference outlining "the critical role which unions play in bringing about economic, social and political change".

Study Documents Economic Benefits of Secondary and Higher Education in the Developing World
A study of the relationship between education and economic growth in 16 "emerging economies" has found that investments in secondary and higher education -- and not just primary education -- are more beneficial than many may have realised.
The study, carried out jointly by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, an association of 30 industrialised countries, supports a shift in thinking that has occurred in recent years toward a greater appreciation of the value of higher education for developing countries. It concludes that, over all, investments in education during the past two decades "may have accounted for about a half a percentage point in the annual growth rates in those countries [it investigated]."
The report states that when more people get a secondary and higher education, national economies tend to grow faster. In 1960, for example, adults in Chile had spent an average of 6.19 years at school, and per-capita gross domestic product stood at slightly less than $4,000 (all amounts are in 1995 constant dollars). By 2000, average time at school had climbed to almost 10 years, and per-capita gross domestic product had increased to $7,000.
This study suggests, that education plays a stronger role in economic growth once education levels reach a critical threshold and that "high levels of upper-secondary and tertiary attainment are important for human capital to translate into steady growth."

Market reforms get nod
The Australian federal Government cabinet has approved the general thrust of Education Minister Brendan Nelson's higher education reform package. The package includes fee deregulation and radical industrial reforms including suggestions that research grants could be tied to industrial reforms. Australian Research Council chief executive Vicki Sara said "I have never heard anything about it. We fund the best research independent of employment conditions. It would undermine the integrity of the national research effort." The Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations agrees. It said it would be "an assault on the very fabric of our research culture". It was also "astounded" at reports that the Government would amend laws to make it a breach of national interest for academics to strike. "Such a move in an increasingly casualised university workplace can only be seen as a means for government to stifle debate and criticism ¡V in effect silencing the nation's intellectual heartland," CAPA president Benjamin McKay said. The National Tertiary Education Union says such a move would be "undemocratic" and "over the top". "If the federal Government is planning to introduce these measures as part of its higher education reform package . . . it will be a recipe for disorder and confrontation," NTEU president Carolyn Allport said

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. Direct enquiries to Marty Braithwaite, AUS Communications Officer.

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