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Protest planned: teacher ed cuts threaten quality

Association of University Staff

Media Release

Attn Education Reporter 21 May 2008

Protest planned: cuts to teacher education pose threat to quality

Staff and students at Victoria University’s College of Education say proposed cuts to staff numbers and resources at the college pose a serious threat to the future quality of teacher education in Wellington. They are holding a protest at the main entrance to the college on Donald St., Karori at 12.30pm on Thursday 22 May.

Victoria university is proposing to cut over 15 percent of staff (22 of 141 academic and advisory jobs and 7 of 41 administration staff jobs). The proposal includes the closure of the college’s resource centre.

Association of University Staff Organiser, Michael Gilchrist, says the proposed cuts are based solely on an arbitrary figure for budget overspending. “The university does not have any plans for maintaining the quality of the college’s core function, teacher education, while making such severe cuts.”

Mr Gilchrist said that the university plans to embark on a crude shift in emphasis from teacher education to research in education rather than developing a progressive reshaping of the college. The criterion for cutting academic and advisory jobs will be the research capability of the people in those jobs, not the functional capability of the college itself.

“The Government must take part of the responsibility for this situation. It has markedly reduced funding levels for taught postgraduate degrees when such degrees are overwhelmingly preferred by teachers wanting to upgrade their qualifications. And it has done nothing to recognize the funding needs of Colleges of Education within universities,” Mr Gilchrist said. “The resulting rush by the university to secure funds set aside for research threatens to leave teacher education in the dust.

“Both the shape and the scale of the proposed cuts need to be seriously reconsidered. The college has a long and proud history of producing creative, innovative and dedicated graduates. You cannot lose 15% of teaching staff and offer the same quality of teacher education”, Mr Gilchrist added.


ENDS

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