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Extra Funding Welcome But Govt Must Do More

Today’s budget announcements that the government will increase funding for tertiary institutions on the condition that they agree not to increase fees marks a positive change in direction and will be welcomed across the tertiary sector, according to Chris Hipkins, President of the Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association.

“We welcome the move by the government to prevent further fee increases and note that this marks a huge difference to the stance taken by the previous National administration, who were more than happy to shift more and more of the costs of tertiary education onto students,” Mr Hipkins said.

“However, we are not out of the woods yet. Victoria University is facing a deficit of around $6m next year, and the government’s extra funding will amount to little more than $1.5m. That means the quality of education the University provides will be jeopardised in the drive to cut costs,”

“The tertiary sector needs a major cash injection for it to remain viable in the longer term. Extra funding from the government so early on in their term is a welcome demonstration of their commitment to tertiary education, but they will need to go further”

“If we truly want to develop a “knowledge economy” we will need to move away from regarding education as a pathway to employment. We will need to foster the arts and the sciences and encourage critical discussion and debate. For this to truly happen, the government will need to abandon the market approach that has been taken over the past decade,” Mr. Hipkins said.

“The government’s report card to date should read “A good start but room for further improvement,” Chris Hipkins concluded.

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