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Charter consultation at some TEIs is a farce

Charter consultation at some TEIs is a farce

The Aotearoa Tertiary Students’ Association (ATSA) is concerned about the approach being taken by a number of TEIs in preparing their Charters. The regulations clearly detail that providers must follow a process of stakeholder identification, education and discussion as part of the consultation process.

ATSA is angry that providers have been advised by the government to concentrate on the first part of charters, although the charter regulations clearly state that all sections must be included. Charters are being severely compromised by the sorts of non-legislated interpretations being put on what they must contain. Students and staff should be especially disappointed that the weakening of Charter consultation requirements has been signalled as acceptable by the government.

The Charter sections deemed less important are those which contain information about a provider’s approach to fulfilling Treaty of Waitangi obligations; to meeting the needs of Pacific peoples; to meeting the educational needs of learners; to ensuring that the organisation develops and supports a staff profile that reflects its mission and special character; its governance and management structure and principles; and the consultation undertaken in preparation of the Charter.

It is unacceptable to ATSA that TEIs have been given a clear signal by the government that these sections are not worthy of the same consideration being given to other aspects. The legislation treats all sections as equally important. ATSA believes that institutions face the threat of student initiated judicial reviews of their Charter consultation processes if the requirements detailed in the gazette notice dated 14 May 2003 are not followed.

The gazette notice can be read at : http://www.tec.govt.nz/Docs/cp/gazettenotice03june03.pdf.

ALL stakeholders in the public tertiary education sector, CEOs and VCs and Council chairs and members should not only read this notice but understand what it means and what action it requires on their part.

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