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Tertiary Update Vol 15 No 33

Family-friendly settlement at VUW a winner for new members

Union members at Victoria University of Wellington won an extra week of paid parental leave when negotiations concluded with their employer last week. Members will get to vote on whether to ratify the new agreements next week. TEU organiser Nicki Wilford said that achievement, and an agreement from the university to allow employees who have children at any of the university-based childcare centres, to sacrifice a portion of salary to pay for the childcare (thus saving tax), both led to a ‘family-friendly’ settlement.

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Global petition calls for more democratic trade negotiations.

Online activist hub AVAAZ has launched a global campaign against the Transpacific Partnership (TPPA) trade agreement. TEU has regularly warned that the agreement could open New Zealand’s tertiary education system to foreign, private competition, effectively giving multinational for-profit education companies the right to sue the New Zealand government if they felt they were being treated unfairly by our education laws and policies.

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Submissions favour 26 weeks paid parental leave

Over 500 people have shown their support for extending paid parental leave to 26 weeks by submitting to Parliament’s Government Administration Select Committee via TEU’s website. Members at the universities of Waikato, Canterbury and Otago have been particularly supportive, making up about two-thirds of all the submission so far within those three branches.

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Workload adding stress on academics

TEU president Sandra Grey says academics workloads are growing in all English-speaking countries including New Zealand. Rising student: staff ratios and increasing pressure to seek external funding are putting excessive pressure on academic staff workloads.

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Aoraki lacks dowry for merger partners

The Otago Daily Times reports that Aoraki Polytechnic may look to merge with either CPIT or Otago Polytechnic, following a second year of large financial losses.

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Other news

Dr Megan Woods to the Minister for Tertiary Education Skills and Employment (24 Aug 2012): Further to his answer to written question 3266 (2012), what amount has now been funded for EFTS, allocated to providers from reprioritised baselines rather than the $42 million funding announced as part of the Skills for Canterbury Package? - Parliamentary Written Question

In the latest “Education at a Glance” report published this month by the OECD, special mention is made of the step taken by Austria to eliminate its system of tuition fees. The New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) says this is further evidence that the path set in New Zealand, where fees are allowed to rise relentlessly by a default of 4 percent each year, is the wrong path to be on, and needs to be put on the table to be reviewed again - NZUSA

The University of Otago has confirmed plans to lift a cap on international students to 15 percent of all students. At present, the number is just below the university's self-imposed limit of 11.8 percent and forecast to rise further. Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce has been putting pressure on the South Island university to lift the cap as high as 20 percent to help meet the government's goal of doubling the economic value of international education by 2025 - Radio NZ

With its ruling in the Ward Churchill case, a Colarado court has effectively given the university's board of regents the power to fire whomever they want, whenever they want, for unpopular political speech - The Atlantic
Private universities thrive as public schools suffer during recession - The San Bernadino Sun

Australian public health expert on the TPPA, Deborah Gleeson has been brought over to New Zealand by unions. Dr Gleeson will talk in Auckland and Wellington about the threat of the US-driven TPP agenda to public health, especially Big Pharma’s attack on affordable medicines and the tobacco industry assault on Australia’s plain packaging laws - TPP Watch


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