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NZers not taking advantage of university education

AUS WEB SITENew Zealanders not taking advantage of university education

The Association of University Staff [AUS] says that data on participation in tertiary education released by the Minister yesterday reflects a continued trend of little growth in students enrolling in university education – with most growth occurring in the shorter and cheaper education courses.

AUS notes that the 1.4 per cent growth in overall university participation is skewed by significant growth in one, the Auckland University of Technology, which still offers a range of shorter, vocational courses. If only the other seven universities are considered, there is a significant drop in participation.

Dr Bill Rosenberg, AUS National President, said that, “The data supports the latest OECD report which notes that New Zealand tertiary education participation rates are above average in attainment of certificates, diplomas and vocational courses, but below average attainment in university level education – and considerably behind countries such as Australia, the United Kingdom and Canada in that respect.”*

“Relative to other OECD countries, New Zealand is also currently producing a below average number of PhD graduates, “ said Dr Rosenberg. “If Government is serious about investing in research and development and developing New Zealand as a highly-skilled knowledge society, it must recognise that university education is expensive. Students, particularly those from currently under-represented groups, must be adequately supported if they are to commit to university degree and post-graduate study.”

“If slow growth in university enrolments continues, Government under-funding will clearly be exposed. It was previously masked by faster growth rates, but a continued participation decline will result in more universities in financial difficulties.”

AUS welcomes the increase in student participation in public institutions and reduced participation in Government subsidised courses in private training establishments. It hopes that this signals a re-alignment in the sector and results in increased Government investment in essential public infrastructure.

Bill Rosenberg 021 680 475, 03 364 2801

*Education at a Glance, OECD 2001

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