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Auckland Uni Welcomes Budget Tertiary Funding

23 May 2002

University Of Auckland Welcomes Budget Tertiary Funding Initiatives

Today’s Budget announcements on university funding begin to address the chronic under-investment in tertiary education that has occurred over the last decade, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Auckland, Dr John Hood, said today.

“This Budget, and associated tertiary policy announcements in recent weeks, bring more certainty to the sector in key areas after a prolonged period of consultation and greater speculation about the future,” he said.

“While it is relatively generous by comparison with previous years, the fees stabilisation package for the 2003 academic year is still insufficient to cover fully the rising costs that universities have experienced over the last three years of frozen fees, and continue to face in the year ahead.

“However, the detail of the Integrated Funding Formula, to apply from 2004, is very welcome,” said Dr Hood.

“Also welcome are the establishment of a Performance-Based Research Fund and the funding of further Centres of Research Excellence. These are vital commitments to the research and innovation that will fuel New Zealand’s quest to join the top half of the OECD,” said Dr Hood.

“While the PBRF is embryonic at this stage, and overall university research funding remains low by international standards, it is a major step forward to have appropriately incentivised research explicitly recognised as fundamental to the development and maintenance of world-class universities in New Zealand.

“The University of Auckland also applauds the Government’s ‘Partnerships for Excellence’ scheme, which provides a framework for the kinds of public-private partnerships that are common for tertiary institutions in many other countries.”

While the framework for tertiary education was now much clearer, Dr Hood said there were still areas of uncertainty and concern.

“Extra funding has been accompanied by a greater degree of central government control over tertiary institutions’ finances and courses than has occurred in the past. Elements of the new regime will need to be closely monitored if they are not to represent a serious threat to the academic freedom and institutional autonomy on which all universities are founded.”

The University would also have preferred a more comprehensive review of cost category than is envisaged, Dr Hood said.


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