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AUS Tertiary Update

AUS WEB SITEIn our lead story this week…..
Tertiary Consultative Group meets
AUS policy analyst, Margaret Ledgerton, joined with a wide range of tertiary education sector stakeholders last week as part of a Tertiary Consultative Group (TCG). The TCG will meet once or twice a year for consultation and discussion on a broad range of issues arising in the sector. Those present included Ministers of Education, Ministry of Education, NZQA and Tertiary Education Commission officials as well as tertiary employer (both public and private) groups, unions, students quality assurance bodies and external stakeholders.
The TCG is intended to bring a broad sense of cohesion into the tertiary sector. It will liaise with other sectors, such as the secondary sector, provide input into the ongoing development of wider tertiary policies, and monitor and advise on the operation of existing policies.
While AUS believes that the TCG is a valuable forum, it should not be a replacement for more on-going specific sector consultation processes. In particular AUS strongly advocates the need for a university reference group within TEC in order to address specific university issues.

Also in Tertiary Update this week . . . .
1. Waikatos Manukau moves delayed
2. Victoria mail service to remain in-house
3. Advertising figures slammed
4. Medical student numbers to rise
5. Senior doctors seek national agreement
6. 12.5% salary offer in Queensland
7. Egyptian scholar acquitted

Waikatos Manukau moves delayed
Moves to develop a Waikato University campus at Manukau city may be delayed as other tertiary providers enter the debate about who should provide public tertiary education in the area. A presentation to the Manukau City Council by Waikato university, due to be held last Friday, was delayed and it is understood that the City Council will now be briefed on competing proposals from the Manukau Institute of Technology, Unitec and the University of Auckland. Advice is also being sought from the Tertiary Education Commission.
Manukau City is now New Zealands largest population base without a university and says that in order to improve participation rates in tertiary education and bring research capabilities to local industries it is prepared to make land available in the area to establish a university campus.
Despite the delay City Council manager, Colin Dale, said the Council remains keen to see the new tertiary institution in the area.
A decision is not now expected until some time in April.

Victoria mail service to remain in-house
A panel reviewing mail services at Victoria University has recommended that the internal mail delivery service remains in-house with the staff continuing to be employed by the university. The recommendation comes following a review in which staff were asked to comment on options which included contracting-out the mail delivery. A campaign by the AUS Victoria branch resulted in 279 staff submissions, every one in favour of the service remaining in-house.
The review panel has made several recommendations for expanding and improving the in-house mail service and a decision on these recommendations will be made after further consultation with staff.
That decision comes at a time when it appears likely that job losses will result from a proposal to contract-out security services at Canterbury.

Advertising figures slammed
The New Zealand University Students Association (NZUSA) has slammed spending on advertising by public tertiary education providers with AC Neilson, which it says has risen by nearly two thirds since 1999.
Public universities, polytechnics and colleges of education spent nearly $75 million competing with each other in advertising over the last four years, said NZUSA Co-President Roz Connelly. This represents a massive waste in public money and in student fees.
The increase in spending took place during a period that government hailed as the end of competition in public tertiary education.
The amount wasted by public tertiary institutions rose significantly each year of the Labour government," said NZUSA Co-President Fleur Fitzsimons. "Spending on TV, radio, print and cinema advertising went from just under $13 million in 1999 to over $23 million in 2002.
The AC Nielsen figures are only the tip of the iceberg, said Fitzsimons. When you add in marketing staff at institutions, direct mail, and the plethora of promotions and competitions run by institutions, the marketing bill will be well in excess of $100 million.

Medical student numbers to rise
Health Minister Annette King says New Zealand's medical practitioner workforce will be significantly boosted following an announcement that the cap on funded medical students will increase from 285 full-time students to 325 per year. Ms King said at the Health Workforce Advisory Committee (HWAC) summit, held in Wellington this week that Tertiary Education Minister Steve Maharey had agreed to the increased cap, coming into effect next year. Ms King said the extra 40 full-time medical students would be shared equally between Otago and Auckland Universities.
The HWAC summit, attended by 150 delegates from across the health sector, is designed to develop a long-term strategic plan for health workforce development in New Zealand.

Senior doctors seek national agreement
Senior doctors have formally initiated national collective agreement negotiations with district health boards. The Association of Medical Specialists (ASMS) expects to finalise its claim at a National Executive meeting on 10 April and negotiations will commence on 29 April.
ASMS Executive Director, Ian Powell said that "senior doctors were denied the right to national negotiations under the former corrosive Employment Contracts Act. We were forced into local negotiations that, over the years, led to a fragmentation of employment conditions and associated anomalies throughout the country despite our best efforts for national consistency."
"Under the more flexible Employment Relations Act we have now the opportunity to address these anomalies and negotiate a robust national agreement that will go some way to help address New Zealand's serious recruitment and retention problems and relieve the increasingly onerous workloads, work conditions and stress currently facing senior doctors."
Salaries and conditions of employment for a number of clinical staff at Otago Universitys Schools of Medicine are, in part, determined by the ASMS agreements.

12.5% salary offer in Queensland
Griffith University in Queensland has made an initial salary offer of 12.5% over three years to staff to kick off the current bargaining round. The offer, which has been made to both academic and general staff, includes extending paid parental leave from 12 to 14 weeks and introducing teaching assistant positions for research students.

Egyptian scholar acquitted
Egypt's highest court, the Court of Cassation, has acquitted a prominent Egyptian-American professor, Saad Eddin Ibrahim, of "undermining the dignity of the state and tarnishing its reputation," bringing to an end a three-year legal saga that many scholars and human-rights leaders say exposed the fragility of academic freedom in that country.
The 64-year-old Mr. Ibrahim had been a professor of political sociology at the American University in Cairo for a quarter-century before his arrest in June 2000. The charges against him were related to his work at the Ibn Khaldun Centre for Development Studies, which he founded, an independent research institute that focused on controversial political and social issues in an effort to promote human rights and democracy in Egypt. The centre was shut down by the Egyptian government following Mr. Ibrahim's arrest.
Mr. Ibrahim, who is a dual Egyptian and American citizen, was initially convicted in July 2002 and sentenced to seven years in prison. Mr. Ibrahim's case has drawn international attention to Egypt's judicial system by the European Union, the United States, and international human-rights groups. Amnesty International adopted Mr. Ibrahim as a "prisoner of conscience."

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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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