By Alexander Nebesky
May 25, 2018

Pathway to Nowhere

A new proposal from Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Alister Jones, would see Waikato Pathway College contracted out to a private provider which is already representing a number of other universities.

A letter sent by the Office of the Vice-Chancellor on the 7th February 2018 details an arrangement to have ‘as many college staff as possible hired as subcontractors by the as-yet-unnamed private provider.’ A provision will also stipulate those subcontractors are to have ‘no less favourable terms and conditions in aggregate than their existing terms and conditions’.

The letter continues, ‘My reasons for proposing this development are… the pre-degree market is extremely competitive especially for programmes that pathway to university… The University’s current reach and resources simply will not let enable us to develop the global profile to compete in the pre-degree international student recruitment market’.

‘I realise that you [University staff] have already experienced significant change during the last year and the news I am suggesting further change at this time may come as a considerable surprise to you’.

Reaction by the TEU to the proposal has been predictably frosty, with a response emphatically stating:  ‘TEU has consulted with its members at Pathway College, and it is our considered view that the benefits of contracting out the functions of Waikato Pathway College are unsubstantiated and untested… the College provides an excellent service… Why put this at risk for unrealised and untested benefits using a third-party provider with a multiplicity of University clients.’

An alternative suggestion put forward by the TEU in their response to the proposal concludes that the marketing and international student recruiting be transferred to a third-party provider and the teaching staff retained under contract with the University.

‘It would demonstrate the University’s commitment to act in good faith with staff and be a good employer.‘ Last, but by no means least, it would also allow (or push) your preferred provider to actually demonstrate the benefits they say they will deliver to the University, its students and your staff’.

At the time of print, Nexus is unaware of any firm commitment or deadline for the provision of Pathway services by a third party.

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