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In the current issue of New Zealand Education Review, AUS National President Neville Blampied examines the financial impact of the changing ratio of academic staff between 1991 and 1999.

Neville Blampied said that during this period (1991 to1999) the ratio of Academic Staff to Students (measured in Full-time equivalents) deteriorated from 1:17 to 1:19. “This may seem a modest change, but the implications are very significant and surprising” he said.

“Our analysis shows that :

1. By 1999, the NZ university system was 590 staff short of the number needed to maintain the 1:17 ratio – a number roughly equivalent to the academic staff numbers at Waikato University or the University of Canterbury. The system has thus absorbed the workload equivalent of an entire university.

2. Being 590 staff short currently saves the university system over $40Million per annum in direct costs. This is a larger amount than the additional funding universities received in 2001. Every year at the current staff:student ratio continues this saving.

3. The additional work done by academic staff meeting this shortfall in staff amounted to more than 3000 person-years, or more than 7.5 million hours of work.

4. The economic value of this extra work easily exceeds $200 Million since 1991. This takes into account only salary savings on the staff not otherwise employed, and excludes superannuation, other direct staff costs, and associated operating and capital costs. It also does not include any estimate of the savings due to not having to employ additional general staff to complement the work of academic staff.

5. The extra staff work has saved students at least $66 Million in extra fees.”

Neville Blampied added that “since 1991, staff salaries have not even kept up with inflation, and staff have received neither overtime nor bonuses. There has been no compensation for increases in productivity. Throughout this time staff have been constantly faced with restructuring, redundancies and constant reductions in university funding. Current government plans for the sector will make the situation even worse for staff during 2001 and 2002.”

Contact Neville Blampied – 021 680 475. Or 03 –3327160 (home)

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