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Cullen Announcement welcomed, after market madness

Cullen Announcement welcomed after years of market madness in tertiary education

QPEC has welcomed the announcement today of a change in direction for tertiary education.

The previous 6 years have seen enormous problems of poor quality, lack of accountability and enormous waste of resources which has left students and the community short-changed.

Some of the lowlights have been –

· The explosion of funding for private tertiary providers at the expense of our polytechs and universities (In 1999 government funding for PTE’s was just $17million but under Labour this rose to more than $150million in just 4 years)

· An epidemic of low-cost, low-quality courses – initially in the private sector but inevitably spreading to the state providers as the market-led funding mechanisms encouraged this appalling waste of community resources

· A survey of 480 PTE qualifications last year showed that 64% of these were of low quality or low relevance

· A crisis of underfunding for quality courses while low quality courses and providers were often awash with cash

· Students on lower level courses – often Maori and Pacific students – caught in a merry-go-round of poor quality courses and no meaningful qualifications even after several years study

This is a shameful legacy of market driven madness with both National and Labour to blame for the mess.

National’s education spokesperson Bill English is right when he talks about hundreds of millions of dollars being wasted over the past 6 years but he only ever raised criticism of waste in the public sector while ignoring for several years the appalling courses delivered by PTE’s.

QPEC, along with other groups, has continually highlighted these problems and while it’s so late coming it is finally a relief to see common sense getting a look-in.

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