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New National Post-graduate Organisation Formed

New National Post-graduate Organisation Formed
31 August 2002


Post-graduate students announced the formation of a new national organisation to represent their interests, at their inaugural national conference held at The University of Waikato, which concluded today (Saturday 31 August).

Groups representing post-graduates from six of New Zealand’s eight universities were present.

‘The strengthening of post-graduate representation on campuses, and the need for post-graduates to be consulted on changes to the tertiary sector, have made this organisation essential’, said Alistair Shaw, spokesperson for the new group.

‘It is not sufficient for us simply to address issues of quality and resourcing on campus. In order to really serve our members we need a national voice and to engage the government on national initiatives,’ said Alistair Shaw.

The government’s plan for changes to research funding for tertiary institutions includes funding for ‘post-graduate completions’. Student representatives are determined to engage the government on this issue.

‘We hope that we can help develop the policy towards achieving the stated goals, by ensuring that resources go towards helping post-graduate students complete their research,’ said Alistair Shaw.

‘In Australia a similar policy has led to huge problems for post-graduates; with increased pressure, falling standards and no more resources, the opposite of what was intended,’ said Alistair Shaw.

Leisa Ridges, president of the Council of Australian Post-graduate Associations, attended the conference and warned of the difficulties associated with a performance based funding model similar to that being proposed by the New Zealand government. Australia has had a performance based research system in place since the beginning of this year.

Other speakers at the inaugural conference were Professor Richard Bedford, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) for the University of Waikato and Diane Yates, MP for Hamilton East. During the conference a delegation met with Waikato Vice Chancellor, Professor Brian Gould.

‘As well as providing a national voice for post-graduate students we are hoping that by working together that all universities will be encouraged to increase support to post-graduates to a level currently only provided by some’, said Alistair Shaw.

The new organisation will work towards strengthening the groups on each campus and is looking forward to undertaking research on the issues that post-graduate students are facing.

‘This government appears committed to the “knowledge wave” driving New Zealand’s future prosperity. Post-graduate students have to be considered a key part of the knowledge wave. We are looking forward to working with the government to turn its policy statements into positive outcomes for post-graduate students’ said Alistair Shaw.
ENDS

Contact:

Alistair Shaw
Spokesperson
Ph. 463 6589 (office)
Ph. 9700224 (home)

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