Last week between 300-400 people gathered outside the Union building at Otago University to protest proposed cuts to the Humanities division. Up to 20 jobs are at risk across the History, Anthropology and Archaeology, English, Languages, and Music departments, and the TEU has been vocal in its campaign against the cuts. There was a prior protest of similar size in August, and a smaller one outside a lecture theatre where Bill English was speaking in September. The tree next to the Union building had been adorned with knitted and paper hearts, the latter of which bore messages of support for the humanities. Once the crowd has assembled we began marching to the steps opposite the clock tower, led by a bagpiper. [Read more…]
By Brian Roper
The NZ Productivity Commission is currently systematically reviewing tertiary education in this country. Chapter 12 of its draft report is entitled ‘A System that Supports New Models’. Here are some highlights (or lowlights):
- The re-introduction of interest rates on student loans, universities given complete autonomy to set fees without regulatory caps (‘unregulated fees’) to cover the full costs of providing degrees,
- student education to be funded with vouchers and ‘student education accounts’,
- tertiary education providers allowed to become self-accrediting,
- universities given freedom to sell off assets to private sector firms, and
- the abolition of the requirement for university teaching to be researched based. [Read more…]
by Josh O’Sullivan
On Monday night in quiet leafy suburbs in Lynfield, the silence was broken by calls for justice from a crowd of around 50 people. Justice for the 150 Indian students who have been swindled by immigration agents overseas and tertiary institutions here in New Zealand. The National Party was hosting a public meeting at the Lynfield Community Church behind locked doors and a police line, refusing to even hear the plight of these exploited students. The meeting was a meet and greet with Deputy Prime Minister Bill English and National list MP Parmjeet Parmar with various locals including the owners of the International Academy, and National list MP Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, who earlier in the week likened the students to faulty fridges from China during a radio interview. [Read more…]
Unionised teachers in the secondary, primary and early childcare unions, PPTA and NZEI, attended paid union meeting nationwide to discuss a fightback against the government’s attacks on public education this week.
Thousands of teachers filled the Auckland and Wellington town halls to voice their anger and concern about the government’s plans. Thousands more filled halls from Invercargill to Northland – these mass meetings show the depth of the opposition to Bulk Funding 2.0 amongst teachers. There is a clear mood for resistance.
There’s a reason why this government hates teachers and the teaching profession: teachers fight back. Teachers have a strong and proud tradition of standing up for public education and demanding more for education. [Read more…]
Government moves to put Mana College into statutory management smacks of the racism and contempt for workers and the poor that is prevalent throughout the government’s approach to public education. All working people should take an interest in these developments.
Mana College, Porirua, had of last year a student composition that was 65% Māori , 18% Pasifika, 8% “Other” and 9% NZ European/Pākehā . On 9 March this year the Minister of Education, Hekia Parata, put the school under statutory management. This is yet another example of pinning the “Māori under-achievement” label on Māori and teachers. The decision is a smokescreen to the real explanation for comparative educational achievement statistics. And what ulterior motives might Hekia Parata have? [Read more…]
The history of capitalism is the history of revolt. Throughout the 19th, 20th and now the 21st centuries the capitalist system has been wracked by crises during which the normal functioning of the system is halted, leaving millions of ordinary people with no option other than to rise up. Workers of course, are a wellspring of resistance to the capitalist system and will be central actors in its overthrow. But revolt against the system comes at the same time from innumerous directions. The struggles of students and youth are one such source of revolt, one that has in many times and places made an important contribution the wider struggle against the whole capitalist system.
It’s evident today of course, that students are not innately radical. But radicalism seldom begins all at once. More usually it begins to coalesce around more immediate interests. Hundreds joined protests at Auckland University in 1965 to demand government action on university building programs, bursaries and student residences. Students at Otago began by challenging draconian university regulations that prohibited mixed flatting in 1967. Actions on welfare issues continued to be a theme throughout the high points of student radicalism during the late 60s and 70s, as students campaigned against ‘slumlords’ and defended academic freedom from the incursions of the SIS. [Read more…]
Somewhere alongside the white wall studios slapped with half-hearted painterly expressions and littered with lewd, lazy structures, lie a set of workshops brimming with activity that beckon the golden years of art-making. These technical workshops are fast paced and at times chaotic environments that few people can reign in, let alone command. Graeme Brett and Nick Waterson are among the few men who are capable of such a feat and are the pillars of the old establishment that is Elam School of Fine Arts. They are synonymous with its history and withstanding reputation as one of Auckland’s finest art schools. Now after years of dedication they, along with technicians from other art departments at the University of Auckland, stand to face the possibility of exile into a desert-like job market according to “The National Institute of Creative Arts and Industries- Technical Staffing Review Consultation Document”. [Read more…]
A young man in his early twenties fell to his death from the 6th floor of the University of Auckland OGGB business building during the exam period recently. Not long after it had happened, news about the death spread throughout the student body at the university along with other shocking stories of two other deaths which occurred in the past two weeks.
This is a must read pamphlet for any activist interested in student politics today. It covers a range of topics related to tertiary education like why we should campaign for free education and the role of the University in modern capitalism.
Most importantly the pamphlet is a history of the student movement in the 1990s and early 2000s. This was when there was a massive student movement in Aotearoa/New Zealand that involved mass protest and occupations. While our rulers would rather us forget this movement because it stopped the worst of the attacks on students. It won interest free student loans and caps on course fees, two concessions that mean education is far cheaper today than what it could have been.