Younited welcomes Reform of Vocational Education
Younited Students’ Association welcomes the Reform of Vocational Education announcement
Younited Students’ Association welcomes Minister of Education Chris Hipkins’ Reform of Vocational Education announcement today. This announcement helps to reduce the significant uncertainty faced by students at the Eastern Institute of Technology and across the country. We are also pleased to see that the reforms may not result in the complete centralisation that was espoused in the initial consultation.
Younited Acting President and third-year Bachelor of Computing student Andrew Lessells says that ensuring regional independence is vital to ensure an effective, equitable vocational sector: “Institutions that are currently successful are only in this position due to a powerful, grassroots connection with their local communities. The reforms need to ensure that this regional autonomy is retained so that the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology can thrive as the Eastern Institute of Technology currently does.”
However, regional student voice needs to be built into the new institute from the ground up. Younited Acting Vice President and nursing student Dion Reid says that “Strong student representation from all regions is critical to the integrity and success of the new Institute. Regional student voice needs to be integrated into NZIST and fostered by the whole tertiary sector.”
While the Institute of Technology / Polytechnic sector has faced severe financial challenges, there are some institutes that are prospering. One example of this is the Eastern Institute of Technology in Hawke’s Bay. EIT has one of the most diverse student bodies in the country, with 58% of learners over the age of 25 and 50% of domestic students identifying as Māori. By engaging with their communities EIT has some of the best student outcomes in New Zealand with 70% Māori student retention and 84% Level 4 and above course completion.
Andrea Taaffe – General Manager of the Younited Student Association says that “whilst there are no significant surprises from the Ministers reform she is happy that there will be no mass centralization and its positive the student voice will be heard at a higher level – it is crucial that our students (major stakeholders) remain in communication regarding this reform and how it looks, including that the current student support is not diminished in any way.”
Younited is the student association that represents the 11,000 learners who study at the Eastern Institute of Technology in Hawke’s Bay, Tairāwhiti and Auckland. Younited provides academic advocacy, budgeting advice and runs student events, in 2018 we gave over 13,000 meals to students across EIT’s campuses and Regional Learning Centres.