University funding deal inadequate say staff
The Association of University Staff [AUS] has welcomed the news that three university councils have agreed to freeze student fees for 2003, but has warned that the 4.5 per cent increase in public funding that they will receive in return is inadequate.
“The 4.5 per cent increase in the Government’s contribution, with no increase in student fees, means the actual increase in university income is significantly less than 4.5 per cent,” said Dr Grant Duncan, AUS National President. “That hardly keeps up with inflation – so that university funding effectively stands still. It certainly does nothing to restore the drastic cuts in university funding experienced during the 1990s.”
“There will be no highly-skilled, knowledge-based economy for the future, unless this Government is prepared to tackle the fundamental problem faced by New Zealand’s university system – which in terms of real Government funding, experienced, on average, annual reductions of 2.8% each year during the 1990s”.
“We are all for reducing the personal cost of studying at university,” said Dr Duncan. “But this must not be at the expense of university staff and the quality of university education. A substantial injection of additional Government funding for our universities is urgently needed and until this is recognised, the current policy of freezing fees must be seen as a very limited palliative measure.”
Dr Grant Duncan, National
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