The New Zealand Union of Students' Associations (NZUSA) and students across New Zealand have welcomed government’s announcement last week of Covid-19 Protection Framework which will bring certainty to the tertiary sector. However, it cautions that engagement with the sector will be crucial to ensuring the framework is successful.
NZUSA believes that getting students back on campus where safe is a vital part of getting their learning back on track. “We know that emergency online education is not a permanent solution and students are dropping out in droves. PowerPoints on Zoom aren’t a replacement for quality education and reopening our campuses is vital to ensuring that learners can meaningfully engage in their study.”
"Students recognise that they are at heightened risk of catching and spreading COVID. They are in lectures with hundreds of others, live in flats and halls and have active lives both on and off campus. This is why they support vaccination certificates for students who are on campus at the red setting” says National President Andrew Lessells.
NZUSA and its members across the country have been engaging with the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health about what the new framework may look like in tertiary settings.
“We look forward to continuing our mahi with Government on the details of vaccination certificates and the implementation of the framework. It’s crucial that the sector is meaningfully engaged so these changes don’t have any unintended consequences on students who we can’t afford to fail.”
NZUSA will be working closely with the Government and the sector to make sure that equity is front of mind in any system. Lessells says “we know that the tertiary system disproportionately fails Maori, Pasifika and disabled students. We’re confident that with our support Government and the tertiary sector will create a consistent, effective system that will work for all learners.”
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