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Disgraceful Admission in Tertiary Ed Shakeup

Disgraceful Admission in Labour Tertiary Education Shakeup

The government’s planned shake-up of public tertiary education providers and the decision to redirect $160million from poor quality courses is a disgraceful admission of failure of its market led tertiary education strategy.

Yesterday’s announcement regarding public tertiary providers follows hard on the heels of the announcement 3 weeks ago from the Tertiary Education Commission that in its review of Private Tertiary Providers it found 64% of PTE qualifications funded by the government were of low quality or low relevance.

These figures are no surprise to QPEC. We have consistently pointed out that the market-led policies which fund courses for “bums on seats” is an appalling waste of public funds and encouraged a “race to the bottom” in quality education. The National Party has nothing to crow about in this disaster. They have been happy to criticise low quality courses in the public sector but have been strangely silent about the 64% failure of private sector courses.

The reason is because they favour “free market” government funding for the private sector at the expense of the state sector.

Labour has also been well aware of the “disaster in the making” but has allowed funding for low quality courses to surge to surge because many PTE’s are Maori providers and it has suited Labour to point to burgeoning Maori tertiary education numbers at the same time as being able to point to lower numbers of young Maori in the dole queues. And so it is that the biggest losers in this “free-market” funding of tertiary education – are young working class New Zealanders who are disproportionately Maori or Pacifica and who go from PTE to PTE on a merry-go-round of low quality courses – attracting funding and a few credits here and there but gaining no meaningful qualifications.

The missing element in the government’s shakeup announced yesterday is the need to withdraw funding for all low level courses unless students are directly stair-cased into higher level, high quality courses which lead to meaningful qualifications.

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