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Vice Chancellors have right problem but wrong plan

Vice Chancellors have right problem but wrong plan
27 November 2008
Attention: all education reporters

The New Zealand Vice Chancellors’ Committee’s (NZVCC) 9 point plan for university education, which was released yesterday, is blinkered and would be doomed to fail, according to one of the transitional presidents of the Tertiary Education Union (TEU), Associate Professor Maureen Montgomery. “The NZVCC has correctly identified the problem that universities face, underfunding, but its solution to take money from other areas that are also underfunded, such as students and the rest of the tertiary sector is iniquitous,” she said.

The vice-chancellors’ plan would see higher fees coupled with less financial support for students, and a transfer of funding from other institutions, such as Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics, to Universities; something which appears to signal a desire to return to a more competitive, less structured model for tertiary education.

The newly formed TEU, which represents workers in the entire tertiary education sector, including university staff, says that tertiary education needs an integrated strategy to resolve systematic underfunding, not just the first-in-first-served approach that the NZVCC has proposed.

“It is not just universities that are a key part of the nation’s infrastructure, as the NZVCC claims, but public education as a whole. University vice chancellors will not be seen to speak for the whole sector when they take a narrow and segmented view of our education system.”


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