The 2019 Voices of the Sector Forum was timely given the major changes afoot in the tertiary education sector.

NZUSA President James Ranstead says students are keen to see a refocusing of the tertiary education sector on teaching and learning.

“Sadly many students feel that institutions and policy-makers see them as revenue. This means decisions being made which cut courses and services that are meant to foster quality learning.”

Ranstead says the government has taken a step forward with the decision to unify the vocational education sector, and we hope that tomorrow’s forum will reflect the refocussing on collaboration and a systems-wide approach to ensuring strong quality and accessible education.

NZTEU President Michael Gilchrist notes that two forums run last year focused on the need to review the funding mechanisms.

“While the Minister of Education has set out clearly the need to review the funding model, there is no firm plan of how this will be done or the principles for setting out a funding system.”

The staff, students, iwi, and business leaders in the room tomorrow need to really get a firm sense of what tertiary education is for and what funding is needed to deliver, says Gilchrist.

“For TEU members, general, allied and academic – who are in the laboratories, workshops, lecture theatres, libraries, and workplaces with students – education is a public good that everyone benefits from.

“Now is the time for us all to agree on a funding model that delivers on that public good.”

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