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Vice-Chancellors Out of Touch on Industry Degree

26 NOVEMBER 2007

University Vice-Chancellors Out of Touch on Industry Degree

Statements by university Vice-Chancellors opposing a proposed mining industry degree show they are sadly out of touch with the needs of industry. The Extractives Industry Training Organisation (EXITO), the body established by the mining industry to address skills issues in their industry, has been working to develop a degree in mine risk management for the last several years. The ITO has taken this step in direct response to the lack of interest in this area by New Zealand universities.

“Statements by some university Vice-Chancellors that such an industry-developed degree would affect the ‘academic integrity and reputation of New Zealand universities’ simply show how out of touch they are from the needs of New Zealand industry”, said Jeremy Baker, Executive Director of the Industry Training Federation.

“A degree based on industry standards will strengthen the relevance of higher level qualifications in New Zealand. Industry is crying out for more relevant, research-based qualifications. If New Zealand universities refuse to participate in developing them, then industry is compelled to work with more forward-looking organisations, including overseas universities,” said Mr Baker.

“The proposed degree is benchmarked against the best such qualifications in Australasia, having been developed with input from the University of Queensland. It is a sad day when such protectionist and out-moded attitudes are so nakedly demonstrated by some university leaders,” added Mr Baker.

“Industry training organisations would like to hope that New Zealand universities would begin to focus on the needs of New Zealand industry. Their statements on this issue do nothing to address the vital higher level skill needs demanded by industry,” concluded Mr Baker.


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