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University staff welcomes Tertiary Strategy

Association of University Staff

Media Release
Attn Education Reporter 14 December 2006

University staff welcomes Tertiary Education Strategy

The Association of University Staff (AUS) has welcomed the new Tertiary Education Strategy released this morning by the Government, saying that it will allow for long-term and sustainable planning in the sector.

Broadly, the Strategy expects the tertiary-education sector to contribute to the transformation of the New Zealand economy through lifelong learning, by creating and applying knowledge to drive innovation and by building strong connections between tertiary-education organisations and the communities they serve. It also sets out the Government’s expectations and priorities for how the sector will contribute to the Government’s goals, not just for the economy but also for families and national identity.

AUS National President, Professor Nigel Haworth, said that AUS members had been actively engaged in consultation around the Strategy document, particularly around the need to incorporate Maori content. “We are very pleased to see that our feedback on the draft Strategy has been heeded, and that there is now extensive information about what the Strategy means for Maori and Pasifika peoples,” he said. “We still note, however, that the Treaty of Waitangi needs to be more comprehensively incorporated into the strategic direction of tertiary education.”

Professor Haworth said that AUS strongly supports most elements of the new funding system which underpins the Strategy: three year funding, distinctive contributions for universities and a move away from a purely enrolment driven system. “The implementation of the new funding system will be a key to ensuring the success of the Strategy,” he said.

Professor Haworth said that AUS also endorses the goals to build the excellence of university research and increase the application of that research to economic, social and cultural development. “It is essential that the breadth and quality of university research is supported through funding policies, rather than having too narrow a focus on improving creating economic opportunities. While links with industry are vital for universities, community engagement is equally vital,” he said. Economic opportunities need to be considered alongside social benefits, and the fundamental independence of academic research at New Zealand universities.”

Ends

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