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As the voice of Victoria’s 22,000 students, VUWSA writes lots of submissions. These might be submissions to the university on issues such as the Trimester Three change proposal (which would have reduced your mid-tri break to one week), or to the Wellington City Council on introducing things like a rental warrant of fitness. We write all these submissions to ensure that we’re getting the best deal for you when the university, council, or parliament make decisions.
Recently, the university began the consultation process on changes to international pre-degree pathways. These are programmes that enable international students to meet the academic eligibility requirements for undergraduate study at Vic. In a strategic effort to scale up the number of international students (from 9% to 18% of all students), and almost double the size of the university to around 30,000 students, the university is proposing to outsource the Foundation Studies programme. I don’t think this is okay.
The university’s strategy to rapidly grow the number of students is potentially exciting, as Vic grows its reputation and students become more embedded into Wellington city. But, that growth needs to be managed alongside appropriate student support and high quality academic programmes.
By outsourcing Foundation Studies to a private provider, there is no guarantee that these students will have the same access to services like Student Health and Student Learning. There is no guarantee that the ‘Victoria brand’ and quality that they are paying tens of thousands of dollars for can be replicated by a private provider.
VUWSA is standing with international students in opposing the outsourcing of Foundation Studies. We’re asking the university to pause and think about the students. What do they think about the Foundation Studies programme? What are their concerns around access to student support? What are the benefits for students as a result of this rapid growth?
These are the questions we’ll be asking in the coming weeks to ensure the university is getting the best deal for you.