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Education Strategy Has Huge Issues to Address

Tertiary Education Strategy Has Huge Issues to Address

The success of the Tertiary Education Strategy (TES) announced today by Tertiary Minister Dr Cullen will rest simply on the outcomes it delivers to students, said the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA).

“Students think the Government’s Tertiary Education Strategy could be useful if it delivers in some key areas and we will wait and see if that is the case,” said Conor Roberts, Co-president of NZUSA.

“We need to see genuine improvements in the quality of students’ educational experiences across the board. Focusing in on what constitutes a great education experience and what goes into making that education experience great, is a huge challenge for the sector.”

“The strategy’s goal of keeping students own financial contributions through fees ‘affordable, predictable and fair’, seems hollow in light of New Zealand’s tertiary institutions high and increasing fees.”

“Just this week Massy University announced a 10% increase in undergraduate fees and up to a 100% increase in research led postgraduate fees, hardly the stuff of keeping education affordable.”

“The goal of ‘supporting affordable, equitable access to tertiary education through tuition subsidies and a range of student support, including student allowances’ also seems hollow as under Labour the number of students receiving a living allowance has dropped from over 70,000 in 2001 to just 56,000 last year – only a third of all students now receive support while they study.”

“The strategy has also removed references to Ti Tiriti, we hope that the tertiary sector doesn’t loose sight of the specific issues facing Māori in tertiary education.”

“It is important that when the Government writes these strategies, it then follows through with adequate public funding for the sector to deliver the goals outlined. However currently the sector is underfunded and we are behind countries we like to compare ourselves to when it comes to investment in public tertiary education.”

“For instance, New Zealand’s public investment per full time student is only $5480, whilst Australian Universities receive $6990 and United Kingdom Universities receive $7410.”

“The New Zealand Government only spends the equivalent of 0.9% of GDP on tertiary education institutions, behind the OECD average of 1.1% and countries such as Canada who spend 1.6%.”

“Students will reserve their judgement on the new TES until we see positive movement on all these issues,” concluded Mr Roberts.

ENDS


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