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March 12, 2012 | by  | in News |
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Uni’s Secrets to be Revealed

When Minister Can be Bothered

The Government is taking a critical eye to how New Zealand’s tertiary institutions are governed, with a particular focus on transparency.

Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce has said his officials are in the process of comparing New Zealand institutions with overseas ones, to see if any changes should be made.

Joyce stated that openness about governance processes was an important part of making sure students receive a quality education.

“Obviously, it’s appropriate to [run tertiary institutions] in as transparent a manner as possible within the normal constraints of running this type of institution,” he said.

The Minister’s comments were prompted by a question from the Labour Party’s Tertiary Education Spokesperson Grant Robertson, who asked whether Joyce was implementing National’s election promise to “improve the governance and operations of publicly owned tertiary institutions”.

In a relatively rare occurrence, Tertiary Education Union President and ex- Victoria University lecturer Dr Sandra Grey agreed with the Minister, saying that tertiary bodies should be accountable to their staff, students and local communities.

She suggested that the “pseudo-market” framework Government requires tertiary institutions to operate within resulted in information about their governance being kept behind closed doors.

Dr Grey said she disagreed with institutions, like universities, keeping governance matters secret under claims of “commercial sensitivity”, and that more democracy and public debate would result in more accountability.

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