Over the past week, V-ISA has been actively campaigning against the move to outsource the foundation studies programme to an external education provider. The bomb was dropped on Monday—when we first received information about the school’s proposal. The current foundation programme is run by a team of experienced teachers and administrators who have worked with foundation students since the introduction of the programme in 2004.
V-ISA stands firmly against privatisation, and advocates a retention of the status quo. Our extensive consultations with current and former foundation students also reflected unanimous support for our position. While the proposal is beneficial to the school in terms of increasing enrolment and cutting costs (read: maximising profit), it is at the expense of the quality of education future students will receive, and prevents them from integrating into Victoria’s community.
When the programme was finally brought to Kelburn after over a decade of operation in a dying Karori campus, foundation students had more accessibility to student learning facilities and services. Close to 80% of the students we surveyed indicated that they use the Language Learning Centre and Student Learning Services almost every day. This has benefited them tremendously in their studies. Moreover, being at the heart of Victoria University, foundation students have many opportunities to integrate into wider community.
Future students are likely to be situated off of the Kelburn campus since the school cited a risk of capacity issues. This will seriously threaten the quality of education they will receive, especially when they pay for a Victoria-branded education. It also calls into question of the effectiveness of “Victoria Experience Enhancements”—an ambiguous initiative interpreted as a bridge to mend a broken link between school and student.
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The foundation programme serves as a transition from high school to university. Without the people who have both the expertise of the school’s university curriculum and an understanding of the needs of students, the foundation programme will cease to be attractive. V-ISA hopes to project the voices of foundation students to the school. We hope that the school will consider our voices seriously in their decision-making process.