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Reform of vocational education needs cross-benches support

In late June the Government is expected to release its plans for polytechnics and industry training providers, a review which will only work if it has cross-party support says the Tertiary Education Union Te Hautu Kahurangi.

The union representing 10,000 people on the front-line of tertiary education has today begun a major campaign to seek the support of all parties in parliament for some key principles for vocational education.

TEU National President, Michael Gilchrist, says getting back to the basics is crucial in this reform. “We need to stop industry training organisations and polytechnics acting in their own interests and to focus on what is most important – the needs of students and apprentices, as well as their families and communities. Competing for students as if they were (marketable) commodities has to end.”

The union is looking for public support for three key principles:

1. We need a coordinated system that seeks to reduce wasteful competition where the public’s money goes into profits or marketing; ,

2. We need access to education no matter where you live or your starting point in your learning journey;

3. We need quality teaching and learning to be the central goal of the system and polytechnic teaching and support staff to be trusted as experts on how we achieve that goal.

“We’re asking for all political parties to jump on board and do the right thing by our communities. But they’ll only do that if students, staff, and communities themselves band together.”

NZUSA President, James Ranstead, has signed up to the open letter to Labour, Greens, NZ First, National, and ACT.

“We’re behind any moves that will make our political parties look at the accessibility of tertiary education and ensure everyone gets a first class experience, be that face-to-face on campuses or in industry, online, or a combination that works for the student.”

To sign up head to Vocational Education that Works


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