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AUS Tertiary Update

AUS WEB SITEOtago rises exceed fee maxima
The University of Otago has increased its 2004 student tuition fees by an average of six percent after the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) agreed to grant exemptions from fee maxima legislation that limits increases on course costs and fees to five percent.
The TEC has allowed Otago to charge an additional 8.5 percent for dentistry and medicine courses, and ten per cent for arts, social sciences and law. Tuition rates will increase by five percent in most other programmes. Fees for undergraduate arts, social sciences and law courses will rise by $295, from $2,950 to $3,345, while the fees for medicine and dentistry will increase by $820, from $9,180 to $10,000.
Defending the decision to increase some fees beyond the fees maxima, Otago Vice-Chancellor Dr Graeme Fogelberg said that the cost of running a world-class institution such as Otago far outstrips the amount of government funding available and exceeds the Consumer Price Index. “The last tuition fee increase for most undergraduate papers was in 2000. Sciences, medicine, and dentistry course fees have not risen since 1999,” he said.
“Simply put, we cannot continue to offer a quality education for bargain-basement prices. To continue to do so would erode the quality of our degree programmes – to the detriment of current and future Otago graduates,” said Dr Fogelberg. “I don’t believe that’s a responsible choice, and it’s certainly not in the best interests of this University and its graduates”.
Student leaders have, however, described the increases as a “return to the dark ages”. Otago University Students’ Association (OUSA) President Nick Lanham said that the University’s financial position remains healthy with surpluses over the last four years expected to continue. “Otago receives more income per EFTS than any other university in the country, and in 2002 was fifteen percent ahead of its major rival, Auckland,” he said. “Continuing to mine students for fees is not a solution in the long term”.

Also in Tertiary Update this week
1. Tertiary education participation continues to increase
2. Student loan scheme may be discriminatory
3. New framework for Maori tertiary education
4. Quality Commissioner for PTEs
5. Sydney deal sets benchmark
6. Protests at plans to cut support to German universities
7. Britons willing to pay more tax for education

Tertiary education participation continues to increase
Participation in tertiary education rose by eleven per cent in 2002 according to the annual report on the tertiary education sector, New Zealand’s Tertiary Education Sector: Profiles and Trends 2002. Published by the Ministry of Education the report, which was released yesterday, shows that more than one in ten of the population aged 15 and over (10.5%) were enrolled in tertiary education in July 2002. It is the highest level in New Zealand’s history.
In July, 319,886 students were formally enrolled in tertiary education but it is estimated that over 425,000 people studied in some form of tertiary education in 2002 as a whole.
In December 2002, 83,456 trainees were registered with Industry Training Organisations (ITOs), an increase of 26 per cent during the year. In addition, nearly 33,000 students were involved in transition programmes such as Youth Training, Training Opportunities, and Skill Enhancement programmes.
Women constituted 58 percent of all enrolments, and the report says the growth of Maori participation rose from 14.4 percent in 2001 to 17.2 percent in 2002. It exceeded the non-Maori participation rate of 9.5 percent. International student numbers rose in 2002 by 52 percent following a rise of 51 percent in 2001. International students formed 8.4 percent of all tertiary students, up from 2.2 percent in 1994.
The report says that further growth is evident in 2003 and it projects increasing participation over the next few years.
According to the report, government’s budget for tertiary education, including the capital drawn down for student loans, increased by an estimated 8 percent in 2002/03 to more than $3,500 billion. Average EFTS funding increased by 1.2 percent between 2001 and 2002 while the average tuition fee per EFTS dropped by 14 percent. The latter is attributed to a result of the tuition fees freeze over the past three years and the decision of some institutions not to charge fees.
Public tertiary institutions (TEIs) have improved their financial performance with six reporting a net operating deficit in 2002 compared with ten in 2001 and thirteen in 2000.

Student loan scheme may be discriminatory
A groundbreaking claim against the student loan scheme is proceeding after the Human Rights Commission agreed that it might discriminate against women borrowers. The claim has now been referred to the Crown Law Office for an opinion, the findings of which will be reported to Government.
The New Zealand Students’ Association (NZUSA), which lodged the claim, will be given an opportunity to attend mediation and if the matter is not resolved, will appear in front of the Human Rights Review Tribunal.
NZUSA took the discrimination claim on the basis that women take twice as long as men to repay their loans and pay thousands of dollars more for their qualifications in interest payments.
“We have cleared the first hurdle in what may be one of the biggest attacks ever on a deeply unpopular loan scheme,” said Camilla Belich, NZUSA’s National Womens Rights Officer. “This claim is a beacon of hope to women and men borrowers struggling under the burden of huge student loans”.
Ms Belich said that NZUSA was delighted with the opportunity to proceed with the claim and anticipated that mediation would occur in late January 2004.

New framework for Maori tertiary education
A framework to improve the responsiveness of tertiary education to Maori was launched yesterday by Associate Education Ministers Parekura Horomia and Steve Maharey.
The Framework builds on the work started through the Hui Taumata Mätauranga held in Taupo earlier this year and brings together thinking on Maori tertiary education developed by Maori from throughout the country. It was developed independently by a Maori Tertiary Reference Group chaired by leading educationalist Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith.
Associate Education Minister Parekura Horomia said the Framework is an exciting development for Maori education. “This is the first resource of its kind to be developed to connect Maori communities, tertiary education organisations, industry and business together. It highlights the need for greater representation of Maori in positions of authority and leadership within the tertiary sector. Tertiary education also needs to provide positive experiences for Maori,” he said.
Steve Maharey said the government anticipates that the framework will stimulate debate and discussion amongst iwi and Maori communities and that this will in turn lead to richer discussions with tertiary education providers.
“Maori have been very clear that they want educational development to address their needs. The strength of this Framework is that it has been developed independently of government and is now being presented to the tertiary education sector as a guide for its future development,” Mr. Maharey said.

Quality Commissioner for PTEs
The New Zealand Association of Private Education Providers (NZAPEP) announced yesterday that it would establish a Quality Commissioner for the private tertiary education sector. The Association intends developing a new code of ethical practices towards students, model grievance processes and the introduction of Quality Mark standards for its members who cater for over 60% of students enrolled in private training establishments (PTEs). The Association hopes to have the Code of Conduct and the scheme up and running by the middle of 2004.
Sandra McKersey, the President of the NZAPEP, said the scheme would help PTEs meet quality provider standards. “We understand that a critical aspect of quality provision is good financial management and solvency”. She said the Association had been “disturbed” by recent events involving the collapse of PTEs, Modern Age and Carich.
Associate Minister of Education (Tertiary), Steve Maharey, said it was a welcome move by the private training sector to get its own house in order after the high profile collapse of some private training establishments this year.
The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC), Ministry of Education and the New Zealand Qualifications Authority will continue to work with the NZAPEP on the development of the proposal.

Worldwatch
Sydney deal sets benchmark
The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) has reached agreement with Sydney University for a new collective employment agreement, which will deliver a 20 percent salary increase over three years, and provides 36 weeks paid parental leave.
The deal is said by the NTEU to represent a slap in the face to the Federal Cabinet that is continuing to try and force university staff onto individual Australian Workplace Agreements. “The agreement with Sydney University comes less than a week after the Senate rejected the Government’s plan to deny $404 million in much needed funding to universities unless they adopt harsh workplace relations requirements,” said Grahame McCulloch, NTEU General Secretary. “It represents a rebuff to the confrontational approach adopted by industrial hardliners in the Federal Cabinet and proves that university staff and management can sort out their own industrial arrangements”.
Negotiations have been going on at Sydney University since October 2002 as part of sector-wide enterprise bargaining underway at 38 of Australia’s public universities. Other features of the deal include a cap on casual employment and a 25% pay loading for casuals, strong recognition of union rights and the “full protection of intellectual freedom”.
Stalled employment agreement negotiations in Britain are set to resume next week, with the Association of University Teachers (AUT) threatening to ballot members on industrial action if significant progress is not made.

Protests at plans to cut support to German universities
Students briefly occupied Berlin's city hall and professors staged lectures in busy public venues in demonstrations last week to protest plans to slash government support for the city's universities by $NZ170 million over the next five years. The students also protested at plans to collect tuition from them for the first time.
Economic woes in Berlin have led to proposed cuts for the cash-strapped public higher-education system. In Berlin alone, some 240 professorial positions and entire departments have been identified for elimination.
Similar cuts may be contemplated in Lower Saxony, which is planning to trim about $NZ100 million from its support for higher education over the next two years.
German universities traditionally have charged no tuition, and plans to introduce fees of up to $NZ1,300 a year has met with fierce resistance from students. The German Supreme Court is currently considering a legal challenge to the law that allowed fees to be imposed.

Britons willing to pay more tax for education
The 20th Social Attitudes report, compiled annually by the National Centre for Social Research in Britain, reveals an increase in support for the injection of more taxpayers' money into health and education. But Britons are uncertain about the government's plans to shift the financial burden of higher education from the state to the individual through tuition fees and retain a deep-seated conviction that the higher education system is still failing young people from working class backgrounds

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