Friday, April 21, 2006

In the ballot IX

Another couple of Member's Bills I've had sitting around for a while. Previous batches can be found here:

Education (Establishment of Universities of Technology) Amendment Bill (Brian Donnelly): this would amend the Education Act 1989 to create a new category of tertiary institution, "universities of technology". These would lie partway between a polytech and a university, and provide both degree and sub-degree courses, with a strong emphasis on applied knowledge. The purpose of this change is quite openly to allow polytechs to fulfil their aspiration for the status of having "university" in their name, without having to lose their practical focus. Unfortunately, this won't disguise the fact that their degrees will still be substandard.

While I don't have a copy of the bill, reading the Act suggests that this would be done by inserting a list of criteria similar to that in s162 (4) (a), and a new definition in s162 (4) (b).

Land Transport Management (Public Private Partnerships) Amendment Bill (Gordon Copeland/Judy Turner): this would amend the Land Transport Management Act 2003 to allow greater use of public-private partnerships and toll roads. The bill is mostly technical, and the key amendment is to repeal s 58 (2), which requires roads operated under such partnerships to be ultimately owned by the crown (they can be leased, but the term of the lease is limited). It would also allow Ministers deciding on such schemes to ignore public consultation, and to grant a 10-year extension to any lease at any time. The net effect of the bill would be to remove the current requirement that private roads actually be planned, and (under the wrong Minister) allow open slather for their construction. And of course allow them to hold the government to ransom for windfall profits at the end of their concession by refusing to sell a now-vital transport link. Frankly, that's something I think we can live without.

Unless we start seeing some new bills, this will probably be the last batch for a while.


What leads you to conclude that AUT's and Unitec's (those being the main candidates for the new category, I guess) degrees are substandard?

Posted by Anonymous : 4/21/2006 01:59:00 PM

It's more polytechs in general. I've been in both types of institution, and IMHO academic standards in polytechs were considerably lower, and their teaching style focused on brute repetition rather than analysis and thought.

And AUT is already a university. Cthulhu only knows where this bill would leave their branding...

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 4/21/2006 03:04:00 PM

What AUT University aka "Auckland University of Tautology"?

Before you condemn polytechnics/universities of technology out of hand, you might consider how the NZ higher education sector can cope with the increased demand for qualified knowledge workers, if not by upgrading tertiary institutions. Or are the existing nine universities just to get bigger and bigger.

(BTW, if you read Keith Ng it seems "substandard" degrees aren't just a polytech thing

Posted by Rich : 4/21/2006 04:30:00 PM

It would be a bit of a mockery if AUT wasn't put in a new UoT category, but, yeah, politics would no doubt intervene.

I've seen that the Government wants to change the system to try to improve the performance of polytechnics and stop the endless pursuit of higher enrolments.

Actually auditing the experience of learners and quality of teachers is bloody difficult however, but you'd need something to stop achievement rates being pumped up artificially.

Posted by Anonymous : 4/21/2006 07:19:00 PM