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University staff call for more investment

University staff call for more investment in tertiary education

University staff are calling on the Government for further investment in high-quality tertiary education, following the release of yesterday’s Budget.

Funding for tertiary education in the Budget provided an additional $75 million over the next four years for the Performance-Based Research Fund and an increase of 2.6 percent to student component funding over each of the next four years. $132 million from this and previous budgets will be used to increase funding rates for strategically relevant subject areas

“The $75 million increase in the Performance Based Research Fund will be welcomed by university staff,” said Professor Nigel Haworth, President of the Association of University Staff. “The PBRF exercise has proved that university staff are responsible for the bulk of academic research in New Zealand, and that quality should be rewarded by increased funding.”

Professor Haworth went on to say, however, that there was little else for universities in the budget, other than an inflation catch-up for funding rates. “The Government shares our concern that university salaries have not kept pace with international rates, but it still needs to address this issue. Government needs to work with unions and vice-chancellors to implement mechanisms to fix this problem, and ensure the recruitment and retention of the highest quality staff in our universities.”

University staff welcome the announcement of a funding re-allocation exercise, scheduled to take place in the next few months, saying it should shift significant levels of funding away from low-quality low cost courses and into those run by universities.

“Trevor Mallard has made it clear that he wants to move funding away from low-quality providers and qualifications. If the high-quality of our university degrees and research is to be protected, he must move that funding into universities,” said Professor Haworth.


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