Joyce threatens academic freedom – Greens
Mon, 19 Nov 2012 3:08p.m.
Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce is being accused of interfering with academic freedom by threatening to force Auckland University to take on more science and engineering students.
The university says it will have to cut arts funding by a huge amount if it has to increase funding for science and engineering courses.
The Green Party's tertiary education spokesman, David Clendon, says universities have a clear understanding of the country's economic and social needs and work hard to develop a balanced and strategic approach.
"Mr Joyce's threat that he can step in to decide how many students Auckland University should enrol in each department is a direct assault on academic freedom and the independence of universities," he said today.
"Universities must remain independent of political interference if they are to fulfil their role as critic and conscience of society."
This year's budget put $42 million extra funding into engineering at tertiary education institutes and $17m into science courses while freezing its funding for other subjects.
Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce says New Zealand is under-represented in its graduates in engineering by international standards, with just 4.3 percent of students studying for bachelor's degrees in engineering.
But Auckland University vice-chancellor Stuart McCutcheon says the relative cost of the courses needs to be considered.
"The other thing to remember is that the programmes people want to increase are generally the most expensive programmes, so to have more engineering students you may have to reduce the number of arts students by twice as many," he told the New Zealand Herald.
He said the extra funding was paid as a bulk fund and the university didn't have to put it all into engineering and science.
However, Mr Joyce says he's prepared to force the university's hand.
"I'm watching them really closely to make sure they do respond to what the market wants, and if they don't, I can go and tell them how many they should enrol for each department."
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21/11/2012 7:43:53 p.m.
I want the future generations to become engineers and scientists, not artists. There's still a lot of potential in nano technology, for example, some of which could have been realized by now if funding was restricted to vital areas more. I'm with Steven Joyce on this one.
20/11/2012 1:13:55 p.m.
NZs university funding falls well below other OECD countries. John Key has said he wants to double the number of foreign students here. This means less room for locals. It also means much higher living costs. In the 1990's they were moaning about the shortage of teachers and nurses, because the graduates were going offshore. Having more engineering and science graduates wont change hte status quo, they'l just be going offshore in higher numbers.
19/11/2012 11:32:05 p.m.
Oh Bill seriously thats the best you have?.
Its not up to Joyce or Key or Perata to decide what is or isnt taught in our Universities its up to the tax payers.
And I think you may find that Key doesnt control the majority of tax payers opinions, however like the dictator that he is, he is under the illusion that he can do whatever he wants with impunity, look at the GCSB and their illeagl actions as an example of how Key operates.
19/11/2012 10:59:35 p.m.
Bill Foster wrote:
Joyce knows all about universities as he spent a long nine years at one trying to get 1 paper passed.
19/11/2012 6:07:06 p.m.
But they will take Taxpayers money and expect not to be under scrutiny.
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