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September 15, 2008 | by  | in News | [ssba]

Education Amendment Bill a no-go?

The Education and Science Select Committee has recommended that a private member’s bill seeking to create a new institutional category for universities of technology not proceed.

The Education (Establishment of Universities of Technology) Amendment Bill was put forward by NZ First MP Brian Donnelly. The new category of tertiary institutions to be created under the bill was to include institutes of technology and polytechnics (ITPs).

Supporters of the Bill, the select committee report states, argued that students at ITPs were disadvantaged because vocational degrees lack the status of university degrees.

However, as there is no widespread or systematic bias against postgraduate ITP students, the disparity of esteem between vocational and academic qualifications is best addressed by institutions developing their reputations for providing high-quality, relevant educational programmes, the select committee report said.

The report said that the associated costs, distraction, and confusion would be likely to outweigh any potential benefits if the proposed new category was established.

The Association of University Staff (AUS) and the Association of Staff in Tertiary Education (ASTE), as well as university vicechancellors, opposed the Bill during the select committee hearings.

The AUS and ASTE recommended that the status quo be maintained, but added support be provided for ITPs.

The Bill was referred to the select committee last year, and 30 submissions were received.


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