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AUS Tertiary Update

AUS WEB SITEIn our lead story this week…..
TEC exempts most PTE from profiles
The Tertiary Education Commission has exempted most private tertiary education providers (PTEs) from providing the profiles required of other tertiary organisations to ensure taxpayer funding for 2004. It means that only 15 of around 600 publicly-funded PTEs will be required to provide a profile for 2004.
As a part of the Government’s Tertiary Education Strategy, every tertiary education organisation is required have a charter, approved by the Associate Minister of Education (Tertiary), and a profile, approved by the TEC, before 1 January 2004 in order to receive public funding.
In a letter sent to tertiary education organisations this month TEC Chair, Dr Andrew West, advised that while all institutions would be required to have an approved charter to receive funding in 2004, the TEC’s focus on profiles will be on public tertiary institutions, PTEs “receiving the largest amount of taxpayer funding”, and all Industry Training Organisations.
After consultation with the private sector, TEC has decided to exempt around 580 PTEs from submitting profiles until 2005. They will continue to receive more than $100 million in government funding in the meantime.
Profiles are required by TEC to set out operating plans, key policies, objectives and activities for the next three years, establish performance measurements and targets, and set out the short to medium term strategic direction of each organization and how they will give effect to their charter. They are viewed as integral to the tertiary education reforms.
AUS National President, Dr Bill Rosenberg, said without a requirement for all PTEs to submit profiles TEC would not be seen to be fair and any strategic direction within the sector could be unbalanced. “The charters and profiles will be used to make decisions leading to removal of duplication in the sector. Some of that is long overdue, but it is time TEC explained how it is to be done. TEC needs to make it clear, for example, how the breadth of disciplines that is vital in university education will be protected, and whether it will tolerate PTEs taking courses from public institutions.”

Also in Tertiary Update this week . . . . . .
1. Competition blamed for falling enrolments
2. PBRF Update
3. AUS supports Kinleith staff
4. British university staff vote for substantial pay increase
5. Firm sells essays to students
6. Quiz “cheat” lecturer quits

Competition blamed for falling enrolments
Competition from other tertiary institution has been cited by Waikato University as responsible for falling domestic student numbers at that university. New figures show a drop of more than 500 domestic enrolments (around 5%) from 9691 students last year to 9158 around the same time this year. Waikato’s Director of student and academic services, Dr Wendy Craig, said the continuing decline in domestic enrolments reflected strong competition from other tertiary institutions, both within the region and from other centres.
During the same period international enrolments have grown from 1877 to 2455, an increase of 31%, which has meant that the total number of students enrolled at the beginning of April was 11,613, slightly ahead of last year. International students now represent nearly a quarter of the roll at Waikato.
“The figures underscore the importance of international students to both the University and the health of the regional economy,” said Dr Craig. “In the meantime, the University is examining a number of strategies for halting the decline in domestic enrolments.”
Final 2003 EFTS figures for Waikato are not yet known.

PBRF Update
Each of the new PBRF Peer Review Panels have now met for two days to look at design materials issues and to commence the development of panel specific guidelines. The guidelines are due to be issued for consultation on 30 April.
The names of two of the panels have been changed. Following feedback that the name of the Management, economics, business administration and marketing panel was too long, it has been shortened to Business and economics panel. Similarly the Biological sciences, agriculture and environmental sciences panel has been shorted to the Biological sciences panel to provide a simpler description of the panel coverage and acknowledgement that not all environmental sciences will be assessed by that panel.

AUS supports Kinleith Staff
The AUS has supported a call by the National Affiliates Council of the NZCTU by making a $500 donation to striking workers at Carter Holt Harvey’s Kinleith Mill. Members of the Engineers union are on an indefinite strike after the breakdown of collective employment agreement negotiations in a dispute which has much in common with issues faced by university staff. They have not had a pay rise for 2 years, despite 200 layoffs and increases in productivity over that time, and are angry over plans to scrap a long accepted process for promotion. The company is claiming an absolute right to promote and demote at its discretion.
NZCTU Secretary, Paul Goulter, says Carter Hold Harvey shows no sign of compromising and is clearly planning a long dispute. “Given the company’s recent history of aggressive industrial tactics, I see this as a direct challenge to the Employment Relations Act, and it is important for the union movement that Kinleith workers win this dispute.”
Taupo MP, Mark Burton, has also supported the Carter Holt Harvey workers. “I urge Carter Holt Harvey to move on from the outmoded attitudes of the 1990s and get around the table with union representatives to negotiate a fair settlement. This is an issue of import to our local community, and to all of New Zealand. The situation requires nothing less than genuine good faith negotiations.”

Worldwatch
British university staff vote for substantial pay increase
The Association of University Teachers (AUT) in Britain has called on university employers to give university staff a 28% pay increase over the next three years. Delegates to the recent AUT conference voted in support of the 28% claim, saying that it would be a realistic first step in making up the 40% drop in pay suffered by university staff in comparison to the wider workforce over that past 20 years. The conference resolution says that in return for a significant pay increase staff would continue to participate in the modernisation of the sector.
AUT President, Jane McAdoo, said that the three year claim was made on the basis that the Education Secretary had made a three year funding allocation, but she warned that the Higher Education Funding Council for England and university employers are talking about increases between zero and the rate of inflation.
The AUT is claiming support from statements made by the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, that university staff are underpaid to the tune of 40%.

Firm sells essays to students
A Birmingham-based company is offering to write students' essays claiming they will never be found out by new university anti-cheating technology. For up to £50 an hour a team of writers at Elizabeth Hall Associates will churn out dissertations and assignments. The firm also boasts on its website that the service it provides is "undetectable to cheating". One of its services, called MBA Rescue, offers "tutorial support and writing academic papers to make sure your investment is safe".

Quiz “cheat” lecturer quits
The lecturer convicted of helping Charles Ingram to cheat to win the top prize on Who Wants to be a Millionaire? has resigned from his job and will not now face a disciplinary hearing at his college. Tecwen Whittock, 53, coughed 19 times to signal correct answers on the ITV quiz show. Meanwhile Charles Ingram has announced he is to appeal his conviction.

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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: http://www.aus.ac.nz. Direct enquires to Marty Braithwaite, AUS Communications Officer, email: marty.braithwaite@aus.ac.nz

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