8 February 2018
Students’ associations welcome return of student seats on TEI Councils
Students’ associations around the country have welcomed today’s introduction of a new Education Amendment Bill which will restore staff and student seats on Tertiary Education Institution (TEI) Councils. The Bill, once passed into law, will primarily affect polytechnic councils, many of which removed student seats when the previous Government scrapped the representation requirement.
‘This is a huge step forward in student representation,’ says Melissa Evans, National Vice President of the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA). ‘Students are the primary stakeholders of tertiary education, so it only makes sense that they have seat at the highest level of decision-making.’
‘It is wonderful to see that the Government takes the issue of student representation seriously in the tertiary sector. It has been a long-term issue for Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPs) and it is good they are acting on this quickly,’ says Dallas Adams (President, Younited Students’ Association – Eastern Institute of Technology).
‘Tino pai tenei korero mo nga rangatahi te kaha kite korero mo nga rangatahi katoa ki roto Aotearoa ki runga, nga poori o nga kura katoa. This is wonderful news that our students will have a voice at the top of institutions to be there to represent their peers’, says Emire Khan-Malak (President, Student Pulse Te Runanga Tauira – Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology).
‘Having students involved in the ITP decision making process is not only exciting, but important as it will help to further strengthen the student voice,’ says Izzy Paterson (President, Association of Students at UCOL).
Evans says that this is just the first step to effective and true student representation.
‘Student voice does not exist in a vacuum. In order for genuine student voice to take place on councils, institutions must be willing to support student representatives through training, resourcing, connecting them with the independent students’ association and instilling a culture of hearing and heeding the student voice across the institution.’
NZUSA looks forward to engaging with Members of Parliament to ensure that the legislation is as robust as possible to facilitate effective student voice.