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University staff call for delay on GATS

AUS WEB SITEUniversity staff call for delay on GATS
The Association of University Staff (AUS) today called for the Government to delay the deadline for submissions on the General Agreement on Trades in Services (GATS) from 28 February to 30 June to allow for a better assessment of requests made of and by New Zealand in the current round, and for full public disclosure and consultation.

Speaking to a national workshop of university staff, AUS National President, Dr Bill Rosenberg, said that the continued inclusion of tertiary education in GATS would require government funding and tuition subsidies to be made available to foreign providers, and would restrict government from regulating the sector.

“This is completely contrary to the current governments philosophy which rejects the “market” model and calls for a planned and cooperative approach to the provision of tertiary education”, said Dr Rosenberg.

Dr Rosenberg reiterated calls for New Zealand to withdraw its existing commitment to education as part of GATS, saying that the commitment opens the provision of education in private institutions in New Zealand to foreign competition

Dr Rosenberg said that while the Government has asserted it will defend public education, its position has been severely compromised by the double standards it has displayed in the extraordinarily wide requests it has made to other WTO countries to open all sectors of their education to competition.

“Given the international groundswell to end the coverage of education and other public services by GATS, the time is ripe for the New Zealand Government to take the initiative to ensure that they are specifically excluded”, Dr Rosenberg said.

For further information or comment please contact:
Dr Bill Rosenberg
National President, Association of University Staff
Ph (03) 364 2801 (work), Ph (03) 332 8525 (home), Ph 021 680 475 (mobile)

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