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Review must not jeopardise academic freedom

Review must not jeopardise academic freedom and institutional autonomy

National will be carefully monitoring the outcome of the Government’s review of the governance structure of public tertiary institutions, says National’s tertiary education spokesperson Simon Power.

“We have some concerns, and will be watching the outcome of the review closely to ensure that academic freedom and the individual autonomy of New Zealand’s public tertiary institutions is retained,” said Mr Power.

“In particular, I am worried by the clause in the terms of reference that provides that the review ‘consider whether a ‘one size fits all’ approach is appropriate’. Such a phrase suggests the Government may be looking for a single governance body or at best the restriction of freedom to govern for all tertiary institutions in New Zealand.

“Also of concern to me is the talk of providing for ‘mechanisms which ensure appropriate alignment with and maximise the chances of success of government tertiary education strategies’. This may infer some attempt to control the direction of research and teaching, and a resulting encroachment on academic freedom.

“Such moves will not be tolerated by National. Academic freedom and institutional autonomy are the core of a sound tertiary education system,” said Simon Power.

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