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TEAC's third report

AUS WEB SITE


31 July 2001

MEDIA RELEASE
Attention Education Reporters

TEAC'S THIRD REPORT - SMALL STEP IN A STRATEGIC DIRECTION

Association of University Staff [AUS] National President, Neville Blampied, speaking in Christchurch today, welcomed the Tertiary Education Advisory Commission’s third report. He said, "We see the report as a welcome affirmation that a strategic direction is vital for the sector, after more than a decade in which there was no national vision for tertiary education, no clear appreciation of what each part of the sector should be contributing to national development, and systematic, gross underfunding. AUS also welcomes the report's clear emphasis on the essential link between resources and quality, and its recommendation that government commit to continued and predictable growth in public investment in the system.”

“We support the development of a more differentiated and focused system and urge the Government to ensure that those mechanisms are effective enough to rebuild and strengthen the public tertiary education infrastructure. In a climate of limited resources, that must be New Zealand’s first priority.”

Neville Blampied continued, “We also note the report’s focus on the ‘two ends of the system’, and support its emphasis on maintaining and increasing the participation in tertiary education of those who are currently excluded, and the need to ensure that New Zealand produces high-quality, world-class research and scholarship.” He added that "The focus on the 'two ends' carries with it a real danger that the heart of the system - programmes offering first degrees and diplomas - will be neglected. This must not happen."

He noted that "While the report makes some useful suggestions about ways in which the performance of the tertiary education system can be benchmarked and monitored, there are many issues not addressed and much essential detail is lacking. There is no recognition of the need to address the loss of highly-qualified staff, unrealistic workloads and other staffing issues directly linked to quality of provision. Furthermore, there are recommendations, such as the proposal to 'unbundle' component parts of the education service, which threaten the professional integrity of academic work. We oppose such suggestions.”

“We look forward to TEAC’s final report, dealing with the fundamental issue of funding,” said Mr Blampied. “We urge TEAC and the Minister, Hon Steve Maharey, to ensure that that report also deals with not only capacity in the system, but also its capability – the staff -- without which the system is nothing.”

Contact:
Neville Blampied, 021 680 475, 03 364 2199
Margaret Ledgerton, 04 915, 6695

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