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NZQA research worthless, says university staff

20 April 2006

NZQA research worthless, says university staff

The Association of University Staff (AUS) has labelled as worthless research released yesterday by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority, purporting to show that New Zealanders have what is described as a “middling” level of confidence in the quality of tertiary education provided.

A telephone survey of 750 New Zealanders aged eighteen years or over conducted by UMR Research, indicated that 36 percent of those surveyed have a positive view of the quality of tertiary education, 36 percent a neutral view and 24 percent a negative view. Few respondents hold strong opinions, with 9 percent saying they have a lot of confidence and an equal number having “hardly any confidence”.

AUS National President, Professor Nigel Haworth said today that the publication of these results was disappointing and contributed little to the current debate about the future of the tertiary sector. In particular, the report failed to define tertiary education or to distinguish between a wide range of tertiary education providers, or the types of education or the qualifications each provided.

Moreover, Professor Haworth said that public confidence in some areas of the tertiary education sector may have been undermined because of the politicisiation of some high-profile occurrences incidents over the past few years.

“This new information fails to provide any basis on which to improve quality,” Professor Haworth said. “The report tells us nothing that can be of use whatsoever in improving and ensuring the quality of tertiary education, and it seems extraordinary that a public-sector education agency would distribute information of such poor calibre.”


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