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August 17, 2009 | by  | in Opinion |
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Limited Entry Limits… Entry… zOMG??!1!!1! LOL WTF JEEZ

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Recently I was put on the Managed Enrolment Working Party (MEWP) as the student representative. The MEWP was established by the University to assess issues that would arise if limited entry to 100 level papers was introduced, and provide solutions to many of these issues.

These include the proposition of a process and methodology by which the University will be able to enact selective entry on a “clear and equitable” basis from 2011 (or 2010, though unlikely) onwards. The Managed Enrolment Policy (which allowed this process to begin) was passed in June 2008 at University Council, nevertheless both student representatives on Council; including 2008 President Joel Cosgrove and your trusty little student magazine Salient seemed to let it slide without much controversy.

Students needed to know that this was on the agenda and now looks to be implemented in the near future. Limited entry may sound like a good thing to some people, and granted, I can see the wider economic and political context in which we (and the University) find itself in. However, in saying that, the supposed ‘solution’ to the University’s financial woes in ‘managed enrolment’ severely cripples accessibility to tertiary education.

Sure, there are measures being proposed, similar to that of Auckland University (who recently introduced limited entry), to increase equity for ‘under-represented’ groups—namely prospective Māori and Pasifika students. Don’t get me wrong, I wholeheartedly support this, and believe there should be further support for such students. However, I find it quite a tokenistic approach that appears to allow the University to feel less guilty about what they are doing (in terms of equity, at least).

That is a crime. It’s quite tragic. There’s no reason why every person in New Zealand shouldn’t have the opportunity to study at Victoria University of Wellington. Education is a right, not a privilege. Education fuels our society, it makes it stronger in every way, and since everyone seems to listen to anything that has to do with money, I’ll remind you that it’s good for the economy, too. New Zealand certainly needs to improve its career services for young people, so they are set on the right track post-secondary education. The system as it stands is not perfect, but limited entry will only make it worse—for everyone except the privileged.

Let it be noted, too, that this is a problem not so much with Victoria University, but with the Government, and their priorities (or lack thereof). Thanks, Tolley.

If you want more information contact the VUWSA Education Team at evp@vuwsa.org.nz . Also, if you are interested in this issue, see this recent article from the NZ Herald.

Freya Eng

Vice President (Education)

04 463 6988 • evp@vuwsa.org.nz
www.vuwsa.org.nz

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  1. Simon Wendt says:

    “That is a crime. It’s quite tragic. There’s no reason why every person in New Zealand shouldn’t have the opportunity to study at Victoria University of Wellington. Education is a right, not a privilege.”

    Just because the university is managing enrollment doesn’t mean people won’t have the opportunity to come to uni. That is a barefaced lie from Freya.

    If you work hard at high school. If you get good marks in bridging courses then you will be allowed in. Managed enrollment doesn’t take away the opportunity it merely means that you have to be dedicated to come here. This can only be a good thing because it will mean we get fewer people like Cosgrove polluting our learning time and wasting resources.

    Education should be a right. But the bare economic reality of it is that we as a country cannot afford to sustain everyone who wants to be in full time study to do so and at a certain point the debt levels begin to ensure a homeless future and a life of debt. But like all rights you need to respect it as such and not abuse it.

    “Education fuels our society, it makes it stronger in every way, and since everyone seems to listen to anything that has to do with money, I’ll remind you that it’s good for the economy, too.”

    Sorry. But you’re wrong again. Innovation and hard work fuel or economy and therefore sustain our society. There is very little money in tertiary education, oh except for the government who keeps racking up a fat amount of owed student loans which it will one day call in. Education can only go so far. Tertiary education is even more limited. How many jobs are created from a person who gets a degree in gender and womens studies. How many from a english lit major: Grand total of 1 a decade. Also the sentence makes no sense.

    “The system as it stands is not perfect, but limited entry will only make it worse—for everyone except the privileged.”

    So far off the mark. Limited entry will make it easier for everyone. It stops no one from coming to uni. If anything it makes people realise they actually have to excel at varsity. It puts less strain on the resources the university has.

    More students is only good for VUWSA because you have to pay them the compulsory fee. Of course they’re advocating for open entry. Limited entry may wing them. Silly thing is… IT WON’T because the figures are likely to be set at 2007 levels of students.

    Good work VUWSA. Advocating for policies which will bankrupt the university and degrade quality of education.

  2. Daniel says:

    I too was fairly taken aback by this “Education is a right, not a privilege.” Degrees should not be given out as a right, they should be earned. It should be challenging to get a degree and a privilege to hold a one. We have an apathetic student body, with students disinterested in learning, happy to pass through the hoops of VUW. Limiting enrolment would help lift the standard of students. And lets face it, with the limits they are talking about, its not like VUW will be extremely difficult to get into, any motivated student should be able to do it. And for the people who do not make it in, university is not the only option, these people may be better suited to vocational training, start-ups, travel or any of the other pathways through life.

    I am sure crudely clustering individuals by race/gender/socio-economic backgrounds will show one cluster to be disadvantaged in this process – as clustering alphabetically probably would too. If this concerns you, you should be advocating better primary and secondary education so that students are motivated and intellectually able to attend VUW. It is an insult to just give them a free pass because it is a right to hold a degree or to balance numbers.

    I know this will mean smaller numbers for VUWSA, who are responsible for $500 of my student loan. It would be nice to see a more complex debate on this subject rather than VUWSA returning to their default position of open access and free education. Perhaps VUWSA could advocate excellence instead.

  3. Ben says:

    UDHR
    Article 26.

    * (1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.

    Note the last five words.

  4. In regards to Daniel’s expression of disagreement of Freya’s comment “Education is a right, not a privilege – ” I think she means that education should be accessible to all, not for degrees to be ‘given out’.

    As in, the opportunity to earn the degree should be open to all, rather than freely handed to students, as you say.

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