Tertiary education body 'lost its way'

JO MOIR
Last updated 13:44 19/02/2014

Relevant offers

Education

Mum goes head-to-head with top Auckland school over length of son's hair Concerns over conflict of interest spell the end of religious instruction at Fenwick Primary School PPTA says Hawke's Bay has the country's 'most expensive' charter school Waikato University looks to cut 17 jobs in the humanities Responsible - or just 'bubble wrap society'? Kids miss out as schools become safety fortresses Health app iMoko makes its South Island debut at Christchurch's Te Whanau Tahi School University of Canterbury's Kirkwood Avenue Hall on the market a month after opening Teacher jailed for sex with boy has nine months shaved off prison sentence Students spend 24 hours without running water on Auckland's North Shore All Blacks legend Keven Mealamu distributes boots in south Auckland

The body overseeing tertiary institutions has "lost its way" and will cease to exist without major changes, Tertiary Education Commission chairman John Spencer says.

The commission, responsible for administering $2.7 billion of funding a year, is about to transform from an allocation model to one of investment, the education and science select committee heard today.

"In my personal view it's lost its way, that's why we're changing," Spencer said.

"It's become very bureaucratic and I don't think it's adding value where it should."

Labour's education spokesman, Chris Hipkins, questioned why the eight universities in New Zealand all offered the same programmes and what was being done to change that.

Spencer said the commission agreed the country was small and had limited resources and universities consequently needed to specialise.

"I think some of the university councils struggle to clearly articulate where they're going and what their place is," he said.

"Take Auckland University with a billion-dollar turnover, $12b in assets and 5000 employees but it would rank as one of the top 10 companies in this country," he said.

Universities were major businesses and needed to be run like businesses which meant taking a governance approach, Spencer said.

"If we're really going to run an investment model those institutions that aren't performing have to suffer."

The TEC has had a complete overhaul of its board since two years ago, but if the direction didn't change the tertiary sector would be better off under the guidance of the Ministry of Education, Spencer said.

Labour's associate spokeswoman for tertiary education, Megan Woods said the competitive funding allocation process meant some institutions had changed the way they passed students sitting courses to ensure they kept getting topped up each year

Spencer said that approach was the beginning of a slippery slope because the wrong drivers were there.

"They realise they can't have it all their way and they know it's limited funding and we can't sit and write cheques out."

The tertiary institutions should establish what roles they wanted to play and set outcomes they wanted to achieve, he said.

Ad Feedback

- The Dominion Post

Comments

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content