3 December 2012
NZUSA to monitor impact of policy on Postgrad students
In response to a request from Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce, the New Zealand Union of Student’s Associations (NZUSA) has undertaken to collect more feedback from postgraduate students who will be impacted by withdrawal of Student Allowance eligibility from January 2013.
The Minister’s request coincided with the release of the independent Keep Our Talent ‘snapshot’ survey carried out by two Victoria University doctoral students into likely effects of the policy change. As widely reported over the weekend the findings of that survey highlighted a potential threat to research, alongside the likelihood of some students either giving up their studies or being pushed overseas.
“We fully support the initiative taken by students Amanda Thomas and Bella Duncan to draw attention to an issue that might otherwise be injudiciously ignored. We also appreciate that the Minister has given NZUSA an acknowledgement that the impact of the policy change has to be monitored closely, and that he has invited us to provide more student feedback on the scale and implications of any negative policy effects,” says Pete Hodkinson, NZUSA President.
“For NZUSA’s part we actively collected together the views of Postgraduate associations earlier this year, and are well placed to maintain those connections in order to do more to monitor this and other shifts in policy through a balanced, evidence-based approach.
“In fact we have a proposal currently being considered with central education agencies such as the Ministry of Education, Tertiary Education Commission and Studylink, to step up methods of collecting more timely feedback through a collaborative nationwide network of Learner Feedback Panels,” says Hodkinson.
“As well as filling a gap left by the Tertiary Education Commission’s recent decision to look for alternatives to a Learner Advisory Committee, a well thought out network of feedback panels will ensure genuine input from the people who together constitute the biggest individual investor group in tertiary education, namely adult students.
“Just today TEC Board members added their enthusiastic support to the principle of setting up such a network of panels in 2013. These would act as a reliable arm’s length channel for providing feedback on a whole range of relevant policy development and implementation matters”.