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Unitec pleased with committee report

23 March 2005

Unitec pleased with committee report

Unitec is pleased, but not surprised, that a retrospective clause has been removed from the Education (Establishment of Universities) Amendment Bill.

The Education and Science select committee considering the Bill reported back to Parliament this week and recommended that the retrospective clause, which would have impacted on Unitec’s long-standing application for university status, be removed from the legislation.

CEO Dr John Webster said that removing the clause was a thoroughly sensible action for the committee to recommend.

“An international panel appointed by NZQA spent most of last week on campus talking to staff, students and stakeholders and assessing us against the legislated characteristics of a university, and it would have been ludicrous for that careful process to have been rendered meaningless by a piece of poorly-considered retrospective legislation.

“All we have ever asked for is the opportunity to have our application assessed fairly and on its merits against the statutory standards, and the removal of the retrospective clause from the Bill makes that outcome at least possible.”

Dr Webster said that he was confident that Unitec met the characteristics of a university, with a culture of advanced practice that informed teaching and contributed to social, economic and environmental development, and staff members undertaking research across a wide range of disciplines.

“More than 6000 of our students are enrolled in undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes and we had a record number of postgraduate degree completions last year. But we want to maintain a special character as a university. A key aspect of that character is our long-term commitment to delivering vocational education and trades training of the highest quality within a research-informed environment. We know this dual-sector approach works because we have been doing it for the past six years.

“I would like to offer our most sincere thanks to all those who supported our position during the Select Committee hearings, and to the members of the Select Committee who responded positively to those submissions.”

Unitec’s case against the Minister of Education and the NZQA in relation to its application for university status will be heard by the High Court on 2-3 June 2005.

ENDS

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