Education Act

K Roe made this Official Information request to University of Otago

Currently waiting for a response from University of Otago, they must respond promptly and normally no later than (details and exceptions).

From: K Roe

Dear University of Otago,

The Education Act of New Zealand 1989 sets out general provisions relating to tertiary education in part 13. This includes the objects of provisions to foster equity of access, contribute to sustainable development, and achievement of international standards.

Part 16 programmes and students defines who is eligible for tertiary education:
224 Enrolment of students

(1) In this section, -- eligible student, in relation to a programme or training scheme at an institution, means a person who is eligible to be enrolled as a student in that programme or scheme by virtue of subsection (2)...

(2) Subject to this section a person is eligible to be enrolled as a student at any institution in a programme or training scheme provided by the institution if, and only if, --
(a) either --
(i) the person is a domestic student; or
(ii) the council of the institution consents; and
(b) the person holds the minimum entry requirements for the programme or scheme as determined by the council; and
(c) the person has attained, -
(i) if the institution has fixed a minimum age for enrolment at the institution, the age so fixed; and
(ii) if the institution has fixed a minimum age for enrolment in the programme or scheme, the age so fixed.
(3) Subsection (2) (b) and (c) do not apply to a person if -
(a) the person has attained the age of 20 years; or
(b) the council of the institution is satisfied that the person is capable of undertaking the programme or scheme concerned.
(4) An eligible student who applies for enrolment in a programme or training scheme at an institution is, subject to this section, entitled to be enrolled in that programme or scheme.
(5) If the council of an institution is satisfied that it is necessary to do so because of insufficiency of staff... the council may determine the maximum number of students who may be enrolled in a particular programme or training scheme...
(6) ...the council may, in the selection of the students to be enrolled, give preference to eligible persons who are included in a class of persons that is under-represented among the students undertaking the programme or training scheme.

When I read the Education Act I think it means that I (as a domestic student who has attained the age of 20 years) am entitled to be enrolled in MBChB should I choose to apply to that Degree Programme.

I see that if there are more applicants than places available the council may select under-represented students.

I don't see how or why the council believes it it is consistent with the Education Act for the council to select students who are under 20 years of age or to select students who have experience in healthcare so as to fill up all the training places in this manner, however.

Please can you clarify to the New Zealand public:

1) How they may obtain an application to enrol. The Univerity of Otago seems to think that it doesn't need to supply applications to enrol.

2) Whether the Council is aware of the Education Act. Please can the public be informed of how the Univerity believes the selection / eligibility criterion they inform people of sits with the Education Act. If the Council does not believe the Education Act applies to them or applies to them with respect to particular programmes of study then please explain how / why this is the case.

A person in New Zealand.

K Roe

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From: University of Otago Registrar
University of Otago


Attachment 200527 Education Act OIA response.pdf
215K Download View as HTML


Dear Ms Roe

 

Please find attached a response to your Official Information Act request.

 

Kind regards

 

Chris Stoddart

Registrar and Secretary to the Council

University of Otago

 

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From: K Roe

Dear University of Otago Registrar,

1) I am aware of the link you have supplied pertaining to enrolment. I am having trouble filling out the online application to enrol form.

I have repeatedly requested to be supplied with a paper form so I can apply to enrol. As a candidate who has attained the age of 20 years I am entitled to be enrolled in the program of my choosing. Surely it follows from that that Otago is required to supply applications to enrol from candidates who are eligible for selection.

2) You state `there is nothing in the Act that suggests or requires that in determining who shall be enrolled in a programme where demand for places from eligible applicants exceeds available places, that students who are aged over 20 years must be given preference. Age is not a determining factor in the selection of candidates for the MB ChB at Otago.

You are correct.

The Education Act states that in determining who shall be enrolled in a programme where demand for places from eligible applicants exceeds available places, that students who are members of under-represented groups (in the sense of traditionally disadvantaged) must be given preference.

One way to increase diversity would, of course, be to require people to have attained life experience outside their parents bubble before being considered for selection by the Medical Admissions Committee.

- I don't understand how accepting students on the basis of Health Science First Year is consistent with the Education Act (unless every single student accepted on the basis of Health Science First Year is a member of a traditionally disadvantaged minority group). Even if every person accepted in this entry category (from HSFY) was a member of a traditionally disadvantaged minority group it would seem likely to increase diversity still more if they were required to have attained the age of 20 years before being eligible for selection by the Medical Admissions Committee.

- I don't understand how `Experience in a Health Care Field' (which is to say the entire `Alternative' pathway is increasing diversity, either.

In other words: The bulk or significant majority of students selected by the Medical Admissions Committee don't seem to have been selected in a manner that is at all in keeping with the spirit of the Education Act.

I am trying to understand.

Yours sincerely,

K Roe

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From: K Roe

Dear University of Otago Registrar,

I do apologise -- it does of course say 'may be' and not 'must be' with respect to selecting candidates when there is an excess.

If the selection isn't on the basis of diversity (and it may not be) then what is selection on the basis of, then?

Why: GPA.

That's why I was surprised to hear that 'Alternative' did not consider GPA to be a relevant factor at all. Apparently 'Alternative' is for people with 'experience in healthcare' (not an under-represented minority group at all) where their GPA was expressedly NOT considered.

I am trying to understand the 'Alternative' pathway. Is it about husbands / wives / other relatives of doctors. Or what is up with that?

Yours sincerely,

K Roe

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From: K Roe

Dear University of Otago Registrar,

I just very very genuinely do not understand how the way in which Otago goes about selecting students for MBChB is (for the most part) in keeping with the Education Act.

The idea seems to be to pick students as young as possible with as little life experience as possible. Either pick them from Secondary School (to enter certain residential halls with a certain quality of tutoring and provisioning of worked examples). Or pick them quickly from Science Degrees. Always trying to keep their experiences as limited and circumscribed and their friend groups as limiited and circumscribed as possible.

There isn't provision for people to take a few years off and earn their own money. Live independently from their parents. Choose what life they want for themselves. Hey, maybe they choose to quit work and re-train. Now they have enough food and psychological safety etc. THey know what they want to do with their own lives.

There isn't provision for people to travel. To meet people from genuinely different backgrounds. From genuinely different education and income demographics. To experience something of life. Again, to decide what they want to do and what they want to be.

The idea seems to be to limit entry to people of a certain background only. Open things up to other races in the name of diversity insofar as the kids, again, come from a certain background only.

And it seems to me that often decisions about what they are going to be are not made by the kids. They are made by their parents.

The kids are kids. They are minors.

I know we would send them to war: But they are under the rubric of pediatrics. Their brains are still growing. Their bodies are still growing. They are teenagers.

But people who *know* they want to do Medicine (because they have had experiences and made informed decisions about what they want to do) don't get to do it. Because people are too busy trying to get their kids through quickly quickly quickly...

I heard a GP once say: 'we didn't believe in private schools until we had our second. Poor guy just wasn't that bright. We realised we really had to give him every educational advantage we could or he likely wouldn't make anything of his life'.

Poor boy didn't get the room to discover his own strengths and talents and abilities and the areas in which he would shine and live a meaningful life for himself.

Poor boy, indeed.

I don't know why Otago is so very very invseted in inter-generational poverty all around.

Yours sincerely,

K Roe

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