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Private tertiary funding disadvantages public sector

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The Association of University Staff (AUS) has reacted with dismay to the tertiary education funding figures released by Associate Minister (Tertiary Education), Steve Maharey, during the weekend.

“The figures show that funding for students in private training establishments (PTEs) increased from around $7 million in 1998 to $17 million in 1999 and has jumped dramatically to $71 million this year,” said AUS President, Neville Blampied.

“While the number of funded student places in PTEs has increased by 31.2%, government subsidies for these students have increased by a massive 322.8%. This has happened despite Labour promising last year to revert to the earlier funding regime for PTEs.

“This year’s increase alone represents a permanent reduction to public tertiary education funding of around $50 million per annum. It comes on top of approximately $60 million removed from the sector by Prime Minister Jenny Shipley in 1998 to cope with the ‘Asian crisis’.

These cuts came on top of the 4% per annum reduction in real funding per student over the past 5 years revealed in the recent Scott Report on University Funding.

“To have cut $110 million from public tertiary education in 3 years, at a time when every developed country is investing in the information economy is utterly extraordinary. The Minister needs to explain to the country how he expects the public tertiary education sector to cope with such large cuts while at the same time ensuring that New Zealand becomes a ‘knowledge society’,” said Neville Blampied.

“As AUS members at Massey and Victoria know only too well, public tertiary education in New Zealand is on the brink of a catastrophe of mass redundancies, abolition of courses, and loss of key research programmes and capacities, all caused by the cumulative effects of persistent under-funding,” said Mr Blampied.

“The Government must act decisively and effectively and begin to restore these savage cuts. The supplementary estimates in October 2000 will provide the first opportunity for this to occur,” said Mr Blampied.

“It is ridiculous that Government funding for an undergraduate science or computing degree is $370 more than the subsidy paid to a student training to be a hairdresser.”


Contact for Neville Blampied 021 375 661

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