16 October 2018
Student presidents call on MPs to strengthen Education Amendment Bill
Student presidents from all eight universities and numerous polytechnics have signed an open letter calling on Members of Parliament to strengthen student representation on tertiary education councils. MPs have been urged to support a Supplementary Order Paper in the name of Chlöe Swarbrick that would guarantee at least two student places on Councils, rather than the one provided in the Government’s Education Amendment Bill.
‘We strongly support the Greens’ proposed change to this Government Bill. Guaranteeing at least two student places ensures genuine representation, not check-box tokenism,’ says Jonathan Gee, President of the NZ Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA).
The signatories, some of which are also members of their institutions’ councils, say that genuine representation would help advance the Government’s commitment to transform the education system and put learners at the centre.
‘Two seats means student representatives can share and discuss confidential information to come to robust conclusions, and support each other on putting forward that perspective. This is in line with the Government’s cross-partisan ambition to transform the education system for the better, putting learners and their needs at the centre,’ says James Ranstead, President of the Lincoln University Students’ Association (LUSA).
‘Only one out of 16 polytechnics has a student representative on their Council currently. If we are to hit the ground running as student representatives on Council when the Bill passes, then we need two representatives so we can support each other,’ says Karla Davis, President of the Association of Students at UCOL (AS@U).
The Bill is set to go to the Committee of the Whole House stage in Parliament this week. The open letter can be found here.