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University Chancellor Sir Neville Jordan has criticised the Wellington City Council (WCC) for failing to pay attention to education in its draft Long Term Plan for 2015 to 2025.
The Long Term Plan outlines how the Council will respond to residents’ needs, how it will improve the city, and how it will allocate its funds.
On 8 May Sir Neville penned an opinion piece on Stuff, “Education left out of council plans for Wellington”, in which he wrote that “nowhere in the plan is there any recognition of the major contribution that education already makes to the city and wider region.”
Sir Neville’s article drew criticism from Stuff’s esteemed commenters, who pointed out that he had omitted any actionable suggestions or clear policy alternatives.
Sir Neville wants the WCC to take “an active interest in the development of a comprehensive Wellington education sector growth plan”.
He found it “perplexing” that the WCC’s proposals for economic growth did not specifically relate to the education sector, given the sector’s contributions to the economy.
“As major employers, significant contributors of revenue, and as centres of intellectual influence, Wellington’s rich resource of education providers has a vital role to play in turning the fortunes of the city around,” he wrote.
Sir Neville suggested that the Council invest more in supporting engineering students, in order to meet the local demand or join Wellington’s “high-tech firms to develop the smart people necessary for a vibrant regional economy”.
He also wanted to see more marketing on behalf of the WCC to advertise “the high-quality tuition available and the outstanding experience students can have in New Zealand’s capital city as they receive a world-class education”.
VUWSA President Rick Zwaan praised the Chancellor for echoing the association’s calls for council to implement policies that reflect “the value of having students in our city”.
Zwaan was also willing to provide specific suggestions in that “VUWSA’s submission on the Long Term Plan called for specific initiatives such as implementing a rental WoF in Wellington along with continuing to improve city infrastructure to make it easier and safer for people to get around.”
WCC will analyse submissions to the draft and the finalised Long Term Plan will go to Council for adoption on 24 June.
The Chancellor chose not to comment to Salient for this article until he had met with the Council.