Re: Final nail in coffin for suspect tertiary courses

Granny Herald had this to say about ‘suspect tertiary courses’ – www.nzherald.co.nz/section/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10376133 . I haven’t included it as a clickable link because I don’t wish to dignify the comments further. I will point out I wouldn’t have ever found it had a colleague not sent the link to me. I find the NZ Herald is unreadible on paper, and their web site seems to enjoy the same designer.

From the way the journalist has written it, and the way the editor has left the story, it does read a bit as though those nasty government fund wasting courses are on their way out, but there are a few issues grinding inside that barrel – Dr Barns compares a distance business course with a F2F course in Manukau. A more relevant (but more threatening to every poly) is comparing the distance business course from Nelson with a distance business course from the Open Polytechnic. It’s unclear why polys have been able to squander resources attempting to establish e-learning and distance learning facilities when the Open Polytechnic is specifically set up for the purpose – and more that they’re not allowed to compete in the face-to-face market. Gee, that seems fair, while we talking competitive education…oh wait, we’re not talking competitive education, we’re talking wasting government funds by duplicating existing facilities and services.

The other grinder, although the twilight maori gold swinging singing courses sound suitably vile, the determination that higher learning is only valued in the context of an employment outcome neatly points education at the young, serving to make options for people like me who want to study while working more difficult. This is very short term thinking and suggests that although we want to be in a high value/pay/knowledge based economy, this uses old model thinking in the sense of it suggests that once you got an education it’s good forever. I estimate a qualification has a shelf life of five years, and the knowledge gained in getting it starts to go stale, to go off, very off, in less than a year away from the field. I have a 16mm movie projectionist’s certificate (after attending night classes and a written and practical exam), a xerox 660 key operator certification (written and practical exam), and I used to teach both Word Perfect 5.1 and Plan Perfect. Oddly enough, they’re not qualifications and experience I include on my cv any
more…

It’s so easy to do a subtle racist slur – shame on you, Granny, shame. Not every course run by Maori providers has been a waste of tax payer money. Heads-up. Maori are tax payers too. It is possible to be a PTE, run as a Maori initiative, and not be in any way associated with a wananga. Surprising perhaps, but true.

A singing class just might be as valuable in the community – and probably of more sustaining value than those oh-so-valuable courses I attended on Windows 3.1. Imaginable I could teach my family the songs I learned, and they theirs. I just don’t believe anybody is that interested in xerox 660s or Plan Perfect anymore. Ever. The so called soft skills i.e. interacting with people in a civilised fashion are sustainable. The hard skills are easier to assess and apply an accountant’s ruler over, granted, but that works on the supposition that an accountant’s rule is a valid measure in all cases.

Finally, as of 3:00 on the 4th of April, focus on employment based outcomes has turned Damian into a prisoner in our own home. What I don’t get is, if this regime has been in place over the past 15 years, and it’s all been so hideous, why do we have the lowest unemployment figures in almost living memory…

It just sounds like the government doesn’t like being on the end of user pay results… they’re the users, they’re buying tax payers, so they have to pay for it. They’ve done very well out of the interest on student loans so far, and unemployment rates are at an all time low. So what are they complaining about again? Every time a person expands their ability to deal more effectively with people a pay rise follows closely behind – either from the current employer or from the next one. An increase in pay means both a direct and indirect increase in the tax take. Methinks they protest too much…


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