The Government understands there is still uncertainty for students as the impacts of COVID-19 continue to unfold. Our key priorities in response to COVID-19 have been to make sure students can continue their studies and are able to access financial support and pastoral care.
We will continue to look at ways we can support students as we recover from COVID-19. In doing so, it is especially important that students’ voices are heard and heeded.
In 2018, we started a conversation with Aotearoa New Zealand about what matters most in education. As part of the Kōrero Mātauranga | Education Conversation, we have heard from students, whānau, educators and communities about the importance of student voice to students, staff and providers.
We also heard there are pockets of good practice in our tertiary system where student voice is listened to and incorporated. But there is also room for improvement.
We consulted with the public from 21 August to 4 October 2019 on the current state of student voice. We also wanted to hear how student voice works for students, staff, and providers, and how it could be enhanced across three areas:
The discussion document from this consultation can be viewed here: Tertiary Student Voice Discussion Paper [PDF, 737KB].
The ideas, thoughts and opinions you shared will help shape our thinking around ways to enhance student voice in Aotearoa New Zealand’s tertiary education system. The results from this consultation are now available.
We heard from a wide range of people across Aotearoa New Zealand, including through 329 survey responses, 18 written submissions, and nine face-to-face meetings.
There were nine key themes that were raised about how student voice currently works and how it could be enhanced going forward. These were:
There was broad support for the three focus areas with particularly strong support for establishing a national centre for student voice. Many people noted a national centre as a key way to enhance student voice in Aotearoa New Zealand.
For more detail about the feedback we received through consultation, please see the two papers below:
We have recently published the Education (Pastoral Care of Tertiary and International Learners) Code of Practice 2021. From 1 January 2022, this code will replace the interim code for domestic learners which came into effect on 1 January 2020, and the code for international learners which has been in place for many years.
The code has a strong student voice lens, including enhanced expectations that providers will work with diverse learners and their communities to develop, review, and improve learner wellbeing and safety practices; and that providers will have processes for actively hearing, engaging with, and developing the voices of diverse learners.
The code also includes strengthened requirements for providers’ reporting and publishing, to increase transparency and ensure learners have sufficient information and resources to participate fully in decision-making processes.
You can read the complete code below.
Whiria Ngā Rau: Progressing from Student Voice to Partnerships rethinks tertiary 'student voice' and provides a framework for our system to progress towards a future where learners are vital, well-supported partners in an education system that honours Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
Whiria Ngā Rau is a gift from student networks to the tertiary sector, with ideas, challenges, and thoughts on how to live student partnership and create a truly learner-centric education system.
The framework has been developed by the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations, Te Mana Ākonga, Tauira Pasifika, the National Disabled Students’ Association and supported by the Ministry of Education. It is intended as a tool to live the Tertiary Education Strategy’s primary objective of Learners at the Centre.
The Whiria Ngā Rau pdf is available in Te Reo Māori and English, with a series of A3 resources and student stories about effective partnerships from Whiria Ngā Rau — New Zealand Union of Students' Associations
It is a resource that can support tertiary education providers to implement the Education (Pastoral Care of Tertiary and International Learners) Code of Practice 2021.
Partners in Decision-Making is a co-designed resource to help strengthen learner capability for decision-making roles in universities and Te Pūkenga.
We invited Te Pūkenga and Universities New Zealand Te Pōkai Tara to nominate staff and students to examine how well-prepared learners are for these decision-making roles, and how well-prepared staff are to work with students in these roles.
Students and staff identified the same key areas for improvement, and two simple routes to embed a culture of genuine partnership: listen to each other and learn together.
This document shares research, practices, resources and practical approaches that tertiary providers and students can use to progress a shared commitment to strengthen partnership in decision-making.
For more information, contact Tertiary.Strategy@education.govt.nz.
If you have any questions about the work on enhancing student voice in tertiary education, please contact us at the Tertiary Strategy Mailbox: Tertiary.Strategy@education.govt.nz.