Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume. 34, Number 16. September 8th 1971
The observation that a large majority of university students know very little about N.Z.U.S.A., has been made often. It is true and I think it is one reason why education receives less support than it should as a student activity and interest. N.Z.U.S.A. is one of the most effective educational pressure groups in N.Z. and students at each university have a powerful tool through which their policy can be publicized, debated and adopted.
N.Z.U.S.A. winter council held at Waikato for four days during the August holidays was fairly undramatic - student politicians had little time or wish to be flamboyant and powerful; most of the work was time-consuming and tiring.
Education Commission consists of two delegates from each universty (one usually being the Education Officer), the Education Vice President of N.Z.U.S.A., (an unpaid position), and the Education Research Officer, Lindsay Wright, (a salaried position) who is leaving N.Z.U.S.A. at the end of the year. For this position to be effective for student needs. N.Z.U.S.A. needs a person interested in education, capable of long-term research and who is a politician - not an easily met requirement. Victoria often seemed to have gone a fair way towards having some of the facilities and opportunities which other university students were demanding. Our Research Unit on University Teaching and Learning is being set up, although it is underfinanced, and the acceptance of our new B.A. regulations and the discussion on the Committee of Examining Report in some ways indicates more enlightened attitudes than appear at other campuses. [Like hell-ed!]
Some of the main issues covered by Education Commission were firstly the need for a national conference on Education. It seems that one may be held related to the N.D.C. but N.Z.U.S.A., as yet, has not been invited. Next January, secondary school teachers are organising a seminar with speakers from overseas talking on experimental education and although N.Z.U.S.A. decided it could not contribute to this financially, interested students should find this a valuable event.
N.Z.U.S.A. has done much work on bursaries with the recent addition leading to a thirty percent increase in affective cash allowances; (N.Z.U.S.A. submissions asked for a fifty per cent increase). The question was asked as to whether or not students object to bursaries being related to academic success. As Graham Collins or I have heard very few complaints this year about bursary anomalies etc., I can only assume that at Victoria, not only do students find the method of allocation of bursary money satisfactory, but that they are also well-financed throughout their university study.
Otago had investigated the buying of textbooks and reported that there is a general trend towards more expensive U.S. publishers and that book prices have risen markedly, resulting in students buying less prescribed texts. This is perhaps worth investigating at Victoria so that staff can be made aware of the expense involved.
Mike McAllum prepared a paper on Kawhia High School and it seems that the state of rural education should not only be brought to the attention of our government, but that our own Education, Sociology and Anthropology departments should commit themselves to such a problem by contributing information on this topic through research.
The question of how to determine what criteria we use to set limits on the number of overseas students, and N.Z. students, to be admitted to our universities, now that our own 'open-door' policy is to a large extent, a myth, was a relevant question for students to debate - no one yet knows a solution and students are as well equipped as most to set about finding an answer.
N.Z.U.S.A. on a national level, and Victoria, both need students interested to work in the field of education. N.Z.U.S.A. need an Education Vice President from January next year, and also an Education Research Officer. Next year is election year. Victoria must have an Education Officer and committee willing to work. At council, we donated $500 to the N.Z. Combined Education Association Election Campaign fund and we will work with these people at a local level, arranging publicity, talks etc.
Much of student politics is a game, with no-one winning in the end. However in education N.Z.U.S.A. have backed their words with money and through the Education Research Office and individually local university students can be effective.