Bureaucracy is Bad (Part 47): The Sequel

The Tertiary Education Commission
The Tertiary Education Commission – one of the most inept government agencies in New Zealand history

I have some follow-up information to add to my blog a few days ago “Bureaucracy is Bad (Part 47)“.

As you may recall, I received an email from the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) late on 23 November 2012 with regards to a data cleansing exercise they were doing on their data warehouse.  They were going through their records to find out which components they felt were not science-based, and they were seeking input from Tertiary Education Organisations (TEOs).  The Excel spreadsheet they sent me had 2 components we offer out of 34 science-based components.  I asked them why there were only 2 components on the spreadsheet and not all of them.

To my surprise, I received a reply back within a week (turnaround time is obviously improving…), but it has not improved my opinion of TEC in the slightest.

TEC responded that they were only putting components that might not be science-based (or they believed were not science-based) in the spreadsheet, which is why there were only 2 listed.

Their official response was:

We have 34 science classifications listed on our site. The two classifications we sent you were identified an anomaly,  as the name of the course did not appear to relate to science. The data cleanse is to ensure all the Science classifications are correct.

What we want to know is do they fall under the science classification and if  they don’t then what classification do they fall under.

The problem with this scenario is this:  Both of the components are the same (but for different intakes) and they are both entitled, “Anatomy and Physiology for Manicurists”.  It seems pretty straight forward.  This component will teach manicurists and nail technicians the anatomy and physiology they need to know.

The same spreadsheet has another workbook on it called “Science Classifications”.  It basically lists all the subject areas TEC considers science-based.  And, you probably guessed it, number 2 on the list is… “Anatomy”!

What is frustrating me is this is a total waste of taxpayer money, TEC’s time, and my time.

All I could think to write back was…

I’m not sure how they can be “anomalies” considering their title starts with “Anatomy…” and, according to the list of science-based courses listed on the “Science Classifications” tab, the second field down is “Anatomy”…

Has anyone really thought any of this through?

Obviously not?

Your tax dollars hard at work, people.


  1. what makes me very afraid, is that 4 of my courses start with anatomy and physiology and I havent had a spreadsheet!!! 🙂 Merry Christmas! Lots of love Lorna ps you are right – loved reading them! You write brilliantly.

    1. The spreadsheet was only for courses/components that TEC felt may not belong in the Science category. I’m not really sure why our other Anatomy and Physiology courses were okay but these two were not, in their opinion. I’m thinking because it has the words “for Manicurists” in the title.

      And thanks for the compliment, Lorna! Lots of love to you too and thanks for reading my rants ha ha

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