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TEC's Unfortunate Decision Can be Turned Around

TEC's Unfortunate Decision Can be Turned Around

Media Release – 3 August 2006

“The Tertiary Education Commission’s decision today to set up an exclusive funding process for one group of private training establishments is unfortunate. It has been done with no consultation with other affected parties and will not get the best result. It is foolish to fix one problem by creating another, but there is a solution available”, said Dave Guerin, Independent Tertiary Institutions executive director.

The Government cut access to student loans and allowances for many students at private training establishments (PTEs) in the Budget this year, where their courses did not also receive Government subsidies. The cut is to take effect on January 1 2007, but since other PTE funding processes for 2007 had closed off by the time of the Budget, the affected PTEs had no fallback option. The TEC’s latest decision is designed to give them a second chance.

“The problem with the TEC’s decision is that it conflicts with two key principles in the PTE Student Component funding pool.”

“The first problem is that decisions are supposed to be ‘the result of transparent processes which have been the subject of consultation with the PTE sector.’ The TEC was notified by ITI last week, at a meeting and in writing, that no such consultation had occurred, but a decision has still been made. This creates real questions about the validity of TEC’s decision.”

“The second problem is that the funding pool’s purpose ‘is to encourage high performance in delivering education’. That is why all new funding to PTEs in recent years has been allocated through sector-wide competitive rounds. By only including a subset of PTEs in the proposed funding round, the TEC will lower the average quality of bids. Taxpayers, and the excluded PTEs that have done the hard yards to improve their performance, deserve better.”

“The best solution would be to open up any second round to the whole PTE sector. The affected PTEs would then have the same chance as any other PTE, while the taxpayer could be assured that they are supporting the best provision available.”

Note: The quotations are from Appendix 5 of the determination under S159ZA of the Education Act 1989 relating to PTE Student Component funding. This determination sets out the processes that the TEC must implement.


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