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September 13, 2010 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

President’s column


According to the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) students at Victoria have a lower likelihood of completing a qualification than students at any other University in New Zealand, except Massey.

On Wednesday last week the TEC published performance indicators for every tertiary institution. The information was published in a league table, a media-friendly delight. The indicators were – successful course completion, completion of qualifications, student progression to higher level study, and students retained in study.

The league tables can be very easily criticised as providing the public with irrelevant comparisons and bad measurements. The information, for example, punishes tertiary institutions that cater for extramural and working students.

The information is to be treated with caution but it does highlight some room for improvement for Victoria.

For “successful course completion” Victoria scores 84%, third equal amongst the Universities. However, for “completion of qualifications” (the most unreliable information) Victoria scores only 63% or 7th out 8 Universities and only 81% of students were “retained in study” which places Victoria 5th. Not the happiest of statistics.

A bad showing in these measures could be related to a number of things e.g. academic teaching, pastoral care, advice, student life, unclear pathways, orientation, student intentions or demographics.

I will be asking the Vice-Chancellor and VUW Council for an explanation of these numbers. I think students here would like to know why they, statistically, stand less of a chance of completing their degree than at almost every other University in New Zealand. If appropriate I think students would also like to see what the University’s plan is to address these concerns, if change is appropriate.


Nominations are open for the VUWSA Executive. The Executive are responsible for the strategic direction and governance of VUWSA and for student representation at Victoria. If you care about your University and students at Victoria, you can make a big difference at VUWSA and I could encourage you to run for a position. Visit for information, and don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions.


I am still looking for students who would like to share their student experience with University Council. Get in touch if you have something to say.


Max Hardy


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