INDEPENDENT NEWS

Who’s Life Is It Anyway

Published: Fri 18 Oct 2002 02:06 PM
Who’s Life Is It Anyway
“The true wishes of university students will never be represented while we have a system where decisions are made by a select few,” said Libertarianz Education Deregulation Spokesman Peter Osborne today. This was in response to a proposed National Party amendment to Steve Maharey's Tertiary Education Reform Bill that would put a student representative on the soon to be established Tertiary Education Commission.
Osborne says "students have received a sub-standard and stagnant education for decades, and now, after nearly a decade of the existing 'voucher scheme' in tertiary education we are beginnning to see some real choices for students. But Steve Maharey wishes to stamp on that. Students will again be told by Nanny: ‘This is your choice of subjects, take it or leave it.’ The idea that one student rep on a body making decisions for thousands of students somehow makes this nannying bureaucracy okay is laughably collectivist - no surprise then that it is proposed by the National Party and supported by NZUSA."
"It is hardly a surprise that NZUSA Co-President Mr Campbell thinks he speaks for all students," says Osborne, who observes "for decades we have had a collectivist education system in which the State holds all the strings: where it has full control over subject matter, qualifications, fee capping, loans, student allowance etc." With the first breath of innovation and choice in tertiary education now appearing, the Government are now using their control, he says, to stamp out innovation and choice, "to destroy any chance of allowing any form of choice for individual students. Steve Maharey is now intent on stifling the ability of learning institutions to develop courses in response to demand. It should hardly need saying that without the ability to gauge demand, then the need to be innovative and to achieve excellence will never become apparent."
"One 'student rep' on TEAC does not representation make," Osborne says, "and nor will it bring innovation.It's just a sop from one collectivist to another.”
Osborne concludes: “The State must be separated from education at all levels. Learning institutions have to be given complete freedom to operate as they see fit, by responding to demand in a free and unregulated market. Only then will education be of real value and only then will the demands of students be comprehensively met."

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