Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search


Minister, size does matter!

Minister, size does matter!

13 March 2014

A radical proposal to change university and wānanga governance, introduced by Tertiary Minister Steven Joyce as “moderate”, has been rejected by students as dangerous and extreme.

The Education Amendment Bill (No.2) would reduce the size of the governing board of the institutions, called the Council, from the current twelve to twenty members to between eight and twelve. It removes all nominated stakeholder representation, apart from those appointed by the Minister himself. The Minister’s appointees which currently constitute twenty percent of the Councils will increase to at least a third, and as much as 40% of the total.

“Having such a large proportion of Ministerial appointees is dangerous to the values that underpin our institutions of higher education, such as a commitment to academic freedom and to being a critic and conscience of society. They also risk making the universities subservient to the whims of the Minister, rather than engaging in the nimble, responsive and effective performance that he claims to seek”, said Daniel Haines, President of the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA).

“In addition, the Minister’s own record on appointments is shameful. Just sixteen percent of his appointments are women, although women are 60% of university students. He’s appointed just one Māori and no Pasifika. Eighty-six percent of his appointments are CEOs, company directors, accountants or commercial lawyers. He has appointed one one with a background in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (so-called “STEM”) subjects.

“The proposed Councils are extremely small by international standards. There is not a single university in the world’s top 200 that has a Council as small as eight. Most of the world’s top universities have both larger Councils than New Zealand universities (Oxford, 23, Cambridge 25, MIT, 72, Harvard, 32, Stanford, 33…) and all have guaranteed stakeholder representation.

“Well, Minister, size does matter. The current Council allows us to get the right perspectives around the table and reflect the diverse communities that are served by our institutions.

“Modern business thinking is that listening to more people is important, the global financial crisis is a very real example of what can happen when small homogenous Boards engage in group-think. Exposure to a plurality of ideas is what will make our Councils take good decisions, the Minister’s proposals will work in the opposite direction”, says Haines.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


University Of Canterbury: Henry VIII’s Divorce Lawyer’s Magna Carta On Display

The University of Canterbury is publicly displaying New Zealand’s oldest copy of the Magna Carta for the first time, just as a new connection it has with Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn has been discovered. More>>

Arts Festival: An Evening With Richard Dawkins

In a special one-off, New Zealand event at the Michael Fowler Centre, Dawkins will reflect on his eminent career as a scientist, and expand on the themes of inspiration, influence and ideas in his recent memoir, Brief Candle in the Dark: My Life in Science. More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: Worldly And Unworldly

"Being Magdalene" by Fleur Beale The situations shown in this youth novel are shocking, scary, and very moving as we experience Magdalene’s struggle to be a perfect girl as defined by the cruel and unreasonable leader of “The Children of the Faith”, as she moves reluctantly into young womanhood. More>>

Whistle Stop: Netball NZ To Implement New INF Rules

Netball New Zealand (NNZ) will implement the new Official Rules of Netball, as set down by the International Netball Federation (INF), from January 1, 2016. Key changes include the elimination of whistle following a goal, amendments to injury time and changes to setting a penalty. More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: Waiata Aroha

Vaughan Rapatahana on Chappy by Patricia Grace: With this eminently readable novel Patricia Grace returns to the full-length fiction stage after a hiatus of ten years. More>>

'Ithaca' At Q Theatre: Introducing NZ's World Class Cirque Troupe

NZ’s very own cirque troupe is set to become a household name with the premier of its adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey having secured a key season in Auckland. More>>

Music Awards: The Tuis Are Broody This Year

Topping off a sensationally eventful year both at home and internationally, Nelson born brother-sister duo Broods has taken home four Tuis from this year’s 50th annual Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards. More>>


Sport: Richie McCaw Retires From Rugby

Richie McCaw has today confirmed he is hanging up his boots and retiring from professional rugby. The 34-year-old All Blacks captain and most capped All Black of all time has drawn the curtain on his stunning international career which started in Dublin 14 years ago, almost to the day, and ended in London last month when he hoisted the Webb Ellis Cup aloft for the second time. More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news