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Green Party: Education Amendment Bill must protect student voice in running of Universities

Green Party education spokesperson Chlöe Swarbrick will be moving to amend the Education Amendment Bill to ensure students get a stronger say in how our universities are run.

“Universities wouldn't exist without students, so their voices should be central to decision making.

“Tertiary councils that decide how our universities are run should include staff, teachers, and students, but the previous Government changed the law, resulting in bureaucratic appointments and removing any guarantee of democratic representation.

“The Green Party opposed this because we value the knowledge and perspective of students and teachers in deciding how our universities should be run.

“The new Government is seeking to fix this situation, and ensure these councils are populated by those who have direct experience of our tertiary institutions because they are the ones who know best how they should function to benefit all.

“Unfortunately, the legislation currently only includes provision for one student to sit on tertiary council. Throughout the select committee process on the current bill, MPs were told by students, graduates and unions that one is not enough. I am therefore seeking to protect their voice with my amendment to the bill which will seek to install a minimum of two students to councils.

“Guaranteeing at least two students ensures genuine representation, not tick-box tokenism. It means that the student reps can share and discuss confidential information to come to robust conclusions, and support each other in putting forward that perspective.

“Throughout the tertiary sector, there are ample examples where student engagement on decision making would’ve resulted in better outcomes for tertiary institutions’ reputation, learning environment and sustainability.

“If supported, this will mean at least two students are around the decision making table at tertiary councils. This is a change supported by student associations around the country, representing hundreds of thousands of students around the country. It is a better outcome for our universities and students”.