FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE Wednesday, 16 November 2011
FROM Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association
CUP Programme Closure will have adverse effects on students
Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association (VUWSA) is disappointed that the Tertiary Education Commission
(TEC) has decided to cut all funding to pre-degree courses previously offered at universities around New Zealand. This
decision has already impacted students in the Wellington region through Victoria University of Wellington’s (VUW)
decision this week to close its Certificate of University Preparation (CUP) Programme.
Because there are no alternatives on offer in 2012, this now means that students wanting a second chance at higher
education in the Wellington region will have no options available to them.
VUWSA submitted both a written and oral submission against the proposed closure of the University’s CUP Programme, and
urged the University to consider alternative forms of funding to ensure this valuable programme continues.
VUWSA President Seamus Brady said that Victoria should not assume that creating pathways through special enrolments will
mitigate potential adverse effects on students.
“The reality is that Victoria (along with other universities that have cut pre-degree courses) risk creating a negative
image amongst New Zealand’s most marginalised groups. These groups should have the right to ‘get amongst the best’ and
should not be deterred because of educational inequalities they have experienced that may have been beyond their
VUWSA’s submission was based on feedback gathered from over 70 Class Representatives and students from a number of CUP
and degree programme courses. It highlights that the closure of the CUP Programme will significantly deter many students
from higher education.
Student feedback focused on four main areas: The advantages of the CUP program as a smooth transition to university
requirements for studying; the variety of skills taught; the opportunity to have a ‘second chance’ at education and how
this provides fairer access for many people. Finally, there were many comments regarding the emotional benefits of the
CUP programme including instilling confidence, a good work ethic, and a desire to contribute back to the university
Mr Brady said that whilst VUWSA understands the broader policy constraints limiting the offering of pre-degree
programmes, the reality of cutting the CUP Programme altogether ignores the strong student support and need for the CUP
Programme that currently exists.
“The closure of the CUP programme clearly signals to prospective students that unless their secondary schooling
experience has prepared them for university, or they have a degree already, higher education will simply be out of reach
“This has the potential of creating an ‘elitist’ conception of university. It also has the potential of denying the many
attributes that ‘mature’ students bring to the campus in particular. In many senses it narrows the education path of
people to a predefined, rather archaic way of looking at education.”
“It dismisses life experience, wisdom and knowledge gained through other means. Vitally, however, this elitist model
assumes that everyone has had equal access to academic knowledge and should be able to adapt ‘overnight’ if they enrol
“Students for whom education opportunities have been limited (such as people with refugee backgrounds), or English as a
second language, or those that are transferring their knowledge from a practical basis to an academic one will find that
pursuing a university education much more daunting, and for many, impossible, without the CUP Programme.”
Within its submission, VUWSA encouraged the University to be a more vocal defendant of the right to provide
opportunities for learning for everyone in New Zealand.
VUWSA is the official representative body of students at Victoria University of Wellington and has been advocating on
their behalf since 1899.
We would lose a valuable base of students. Some students have trouble at high school and miss UE by very little but
still wish to attend universities like VUW. CUP gives these students the chance to further their education with a degree
rather than just a certificate or diploma. The same applies to mature students who have been out of the education
system, giving them a chance to ease back in. [Closing CUP] creates a stronger divide between haves and have nots. There
are plenty of highly capable people who for whatever reason didn't quite make it through 7th form, who will be left
alienated by these changes. Moving these kinds of programmes outside of the university creates a bigger divide and will
destroy confidence of university hopefuls -- confidence which is buoyed by placing the program within the VUW
The CUP course is a brilliant preliminary or bridge into the academic life of Victoria Uni. If this is too be neglected
then Vic will lose a valuable area which attracts those who which to complete the course. This in itself may not be
hugely significant, however altogether i believe that it is an incredible 'resource' and attraction to those who do
attend or consider attending Vic. [CUP] is a bridge which enables people form mixed backgrounds to gain access to
university, which is more important now that entrance into university has become closed to those who do not meet
criteria. People grow away from a schooling system which may not have suited or been able to support them when they were
young. So although they may have failed high school they are still able to realise their potential through university
education. it is one bridge which helps to open up social closure in this system and society, which of course has
ongoing generational affects for individuals and groups.
[CUP] Provides an additional opportunity for those who didn't excel at school but decided to try again with University -
this is a crucial part of ensuring we have a diverse, educated population and one that encourages learning and second
chances. Also, for mature students such as my Mother who has started her first degree at the age of 53 after completing
a CUP similar course - she is loving the environment and the new ideas she is learning and I it makes me upset to think
others would be denied this experience.
A fantastic and vital bridging program for students who didn't quite get UE first time round, but are totally capable of
being proper university students. I benefited a lot from the program and to have it within the university environment
gave me huge confidence that I could continue upwards directly into VUW afterwards. Placing the program in a polytech or
other would not be nearly as good, the transfer would not be nearly as easy. I would not be so confident in either
making the effort to enrol if the program were at polytech/ITO, and I would be weary of the fact that a polytech/ITO
program would be not nearly as good as a VUW one -- because VUW is directly aware of what CUP students need to know to
function in their (VUW's) environment, and because these other options are meant to be cheaper... meaning they'll
probably be worse. Surely only a VUW run program within VUW can give students the best preparation and confidence to
enter VUW, simple as that. Moving CUP/CUP-like programmes outside of the university environment simply makes no sense.