UNZ submission on Education (Pastoral Care) Amendment Bill
05 November 2019 | submissions
Universities New Zealand has made a submission on the Education (Pastoral Care) Amendment Bill.
New Zealand universities accept the inevitability of mandatory standards for the pastoral care of students and want to work with Government to develop a workable, realistic Code of Pastoral Care for domestic and international students. Ensuring that the scope of such a code is clear will be key to preventing unnecessary, costly or unintended consequences.
We are concerned that the Bill’s urgency is pre-empting the findings of current reviews underway related to recent events in Canterbury. Legislation driven by emotional considerations is often flawed and not well positioned to achieve the right outcomes. Working with findings from the investigations would better inform and focus any required change.
The sector favours a robust code based on the current self-regulating model used to quality assure the pastoral care of international students, administered by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) through delegation to UNZ. Ensuring that the scope of such a code is clear will be key to preventing unnecessary, costly or unintended consequences.
Universities take their responsibilities to deliver pastoral care very seriously and already provide and manage a safe environment. Managing the increasing complexities of individual student care are challenging, however, and a safe environment does not mean that harm will not ever occur.
Some of the measures proposed in the legislation remove the rights of adults to live independently in their home in their own way. Universities strongly caution against over-prescribed or intrusive codes but reiterate that any introduced code be principles-based, reasonable, practical and consistent.