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Resourcing Of Tertiary Ed Must Be Addressed

23 January 2001

“Overall Resourcing” Of Tertiary Education Must Be Addressed

The Association of University Staff [AUS] has welcomed aspects of the Government’s response to the Education and Science Select Committee’s report on the student loan scheme and the overall resourcing of tertiary education.

AUS National President, Dr Grant Duncan, said, ‘It is encouraging to hear that the government wishes to ease the financial burden of the loans scheme. However, the Government’s response concentrates only on student support and fails to address the issue of ‘overall resourcing’.

‘The question of student loans cannot be considered in isolation from the question of university funding as a whole,’ Dr Duncan said. ‘Student loans threaten to become one of the major political and social issues of the future, and the matter must be addressed. But, in addition to this, the threats to the quality of university education have the potential to undermine New Zealand’s place in the future global economy and society.’

He warned that, without considerable new public funding of the system, the international standing of New Zealand’s universities, and their ability to provide students with a high-quality education, were under threat.

‘Government has gone about as far as it can in bleeding students dry and putting them into hock. But it has also gone too far in forcing university staff to pay for the ongoing shortfalls in funding through increased staff-student ratios and reductions in the real value of their salary scales,’ said Dr Duncan. ‘It’s high time the government substantially increased its investment in the quality of university education. Making university education more financially viable for students is only one side of the coin.’

AUS has called on the government to implement a funding mechanism that enhances collaboration between tertiary education institutions and provides a substantially increased quantity of funding as an investment in New Zealand’s future generations.

Staff at six universities will be taking strike action on 4 March, in response to inadequate pay offers from their employers.


Ends

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