12 Feb 2014

Group says varsity changes not needed

9:14 am on 12 February 2014

A tertiary education advocacy group says there is no need to make changes to the governance bodies of the country's universities and wananga.

The Government plans to cut the number of people on the governing councils and remove the legal guarantee of staff and students seats.

The councils make budget decisions and hire the vice-chancellor or chief executives.

Academic Freedom Aotearoa co-chair Sandra Grey says the councils are working well and serve to protect the institutions from political or economic influence.

Currently they have between 12 and 20 members, but under the changes, that number will drop to between eight and 12, with some appointed by the Government.

If the changes are adopted they will come into effect by the start of 2016.

Tertiary Education Minister Stephen Joyce told Morning Report it's about making universities and wananga think more strategically.

At the moment, some councils are just too large, which means decisions take a lot longer to make.

He said the changes will mean decisions will be made faster.