The government has appointed a Commissioner at Whitireia and WelTec following the Crown's provision of $15M in urgent financial assistace to Whitireia and revelations that WelTec is operating at a significant deficit. The appointment comes as 7 of the country's polytechnics were recently revealed to be in financial distress while 10 were expected to have deficits.
The Ministry of Education and the Mental Health Foundation are encouraging teachers and educators to proactively plan activities throughout the year to improve students' wellbeing. The message comes as tertiary students are revealed to be amongst the most stressed groups ever, and concerns continue over suicide and other poor mental health outcomes amongst New Zealand teenagers.
The University of Auckland has fallen from the top 200 ranked universities globally in the Times Higher Education Ranking for the first time, falling into the unranked 201-250 band alongside the University of Otago. The University has warned the decline will continue as long as NZ government funding per university student continues to compare poorly with that of other comparable Western nations.
NZQA has completed the most recent biennial review of the scholarship subject list. Religious studies has been added to the list of scholarship subjects from 2020, and Latin and sculpture have been retained despite falling student numbers. Health was not added as a separate subject. Approximately 3% of Year 13 New Zealand students receive NZQA scholarships in each year's exams.
The Ministry of Education has invited consultation on new guidelines on religious instruction for primary and intermediate schools. The discussion, which closes on December 7, follows a number of recent high profile court cases brought by parents arguing their children were subjected to inappropriate religious instruction at state schools.
The Victoria University of Wellington Council has voted 9-2 to change its name to University of Wellington. Over 2000 submissions were received on the issue, with over 75% opposed to the change. Alumni and students are strongly opposed to changing the University's name to remove the reference to the former monarch. 15 tertiary providers globally are named for Queen Victoria.
The Ministry of Education has released Tapasā, an online resource designed to help teachers and schools work better with Pacifica learners. The resource includes case studies and practical suggestions aimed at helping shepherd Pacifica students successfully through primary and secondary education, and communication better with parents.
The government has introduced legislation, now expected to pass without controversy, to prevent children younger than age 5 from entering primary schools from 1 January 2020. The legislation also allows school to either start children as they reach age 5 or in two groups each term, ending 4 year olds from joining these groups of new entrants.
The dismantling of the charter schools system continues, with another charter school operator granted permission to establish a designated character school. This school, the tenth to obtain such approval, will become a state school subject to the national curriculum but able to maintain aspects of its charter school character and continue to operate.
The government, following its recent focus on the quality of the international tertiary education system and changes to international student visas, has appointed former Labour Education Minister Steve Maharey as chair of Education New Zealand. The body is the government's agency focused on developing NZ's international education system.