Thursday, March 11, 2010

It’s an arse of a plan, Joyce

Guest post by Ralph Springett, president of Massey’s extramural students’ association

Tertiary education minister Steven Joyce has recently outlined how tertiary education funding will work. Completions must come within the targeted range as described by the institutions investment plan. Otherwise the Tertiary Education Commission will use their funding-stick; give the institution a beating for not being good enough. Sounds like national standards before corporal punishment was banned.

The reaction will be sensible. Tertiary institutions such as universities and polytechnics will increase support for marginal students, using the compulsory student services levy to fund new initiatives. That’s good, lets all muck in and help those that need it most – a bit like how student associations work. Institutions will also be more careful about which prospective (and even current) students they chose to enrol and re-enrol. They will choose those with good grades who want to study full-time. They will be supported in this by the government’s tertiary education strategy push to enroll school leavers. Students who fail will be shunted out the door to make way for the bright new things.

But there is a problem. If you are an adult, the doors will be closed. If you fail because you decided that the course was crap or your mother died; you are out. If you are Māori and are looking for a second chance at education you will have to count on… on what?

National’s direction is discriminating against those with disabilities, students who study part-time for professional or personal development and the elderly who through education wish to continue to contribute to society. It is bordering on racist, as the group they are targeting effectively excludes Māori, despite its own Tertiary Education Strategy targeting Māori learners. Māori learners in degree level tertiary education are predominantly adults who have entered the system through the open entry route for those aged 20 or more. If National closes this door, how would their policy satisfy the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi?

One wonders if National has considered the social impact of its tertiary education policies.




Blogger solatnz said...

I find it ironic that the very system that was supposed to increase participation rates (which it has) is now going to implement a policy that will reduce participation rates in the very areas where they need to increase the most. Great one National!

March 11, 2010 at 4:26 PM  

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