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AUSA cautiously optimistic about funding

Media Release

27July 2005

For Immediate Use

AUSA cautiously optimistic about funding

The Auckland University Students Association (AUSA) cautiously welcomed the Government’s announcement of a new funding system for the tertiary sector, unveiled by Tertiary Education Minister Dr Michael Cullen today.

“AUSA views the new system as a step in the right direction for the sector”, said AUSA President Dan Bidois. “Under the current “Bums on Seats” system, institutions at all levels are compelled to mass produce graduates with qualifications of dubious quality to survive. We welcome the move away from that system, which focuses more on quality teaching and learning outcomes for students at all levels of the sector”, he said.

Mr Bidois added that the new “Distinctive Contributions” component of funding system would better allow the Government to recognise and fund the unique roles that the universities, technical institutes, wąnanga and industry training organisations (ITOs) play in shaping the graduates of tomorrow. “We are optimistic that the Distinctive Contributions funding component will better allow Auckland University to enhance the excellent research and research informed teaching for which it is renowned”, he said.

AUSA Education Vice President Xavier Goldie added that AUSA was concerned that the new system failed to address the more fundamental problems of chronic sector under-funding. “We are worried that, while a positive start, the new funding system will not address the root problem of universities being under-funded,” he said. “The University of Auckland is under constant pressure to cut costs and increase revenue to make up for a government funding short fall, resulting in higher fees and potentially lower quality degrees. We hope that the Tertiary Education Minister takes this opportunity to address those far more fundamental problems to ensure that his desired outcome of a higher quality tertiary education sector is achieved.

ENDS

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