|NEW ZEALAND'S EDUCATION
Tertiary Education Minister supports student voice
Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce endorsed the importance of an active student voice to institutions in the tertiary education sector when he opened the 2013 Congress of the NZ Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) today.
“It is important to have a student voice and for universities to provide for that,” said Steven Joyce.
When presented with the view that many student associations have had their independence reduced or are slowly dying under the new Compulsory Student Services Fee regime, the Minister declared that he was “frankly disappointed” with the lack of transparency in the way that the student services fee was being applied at many institutions.
The Minister said that the application of the Compulsory Student Services Fee should not be about treating students as a “profit centre”.
He singled out Otago Polytechnic as “the best on accountability” and added that the Tertiary Education Commission has taken steps to ensure compliance with his directive on the compulsory fee, with an emphasis on ensuring student representatives be fully consulted about how it is spent.
Allied to concerns about the operation of the compulsory fee regime, the Minister released a set of official briefing notes prepared by the Ministry of Education in July and August of this year.
The Ministry of Education admitted it had insufficient data about the categories of services to base any analysis on. At the same time a strong concern was raised that institution's annual reports were "not following the letter or spirit of ministerial directions on the reporting requirements of CSSF".
The Ministry observed that at best annual reports and administrative data contained "only limited information on the decision-making process and no information on accounting for these fees".
After delivering his speech to the NZUSA Congress the Minister was due to embark on his 11th overseas trip to promote New Zealand export education. It will be the Minister’s fourth trip to China with an international education component, with other travel taking him to Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Indonesia, Singapore, USA, Malaysia, Poland, Germany, Belgium, the United Kingdom, and most recently Japan and Korea.
Over the same period (since June 2010) the Minister has spoken at three NZUSA events, and held meetings with student representatives here in New Zealand on six occasions.
This Sunday student association delegates at the NZUSA Congress will be electing a new President of the NZ Union of Students' Associations from three candidates: Dan Haines, Francisco Hernandez and Rory McCourt.
The Congress is being held at Victoria University of Wellington and will also feature a panel of opposition Members of Parliament who will be putting up their policies on tertiary education for debate and discussion.
Steven Joyce Saturday, 9 November 2013