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Tertiary Education Commission backdown on Shadbolt

11 February 2008

Media Release:

Tertiary Education Commission backdown on Shadbolt disgraceful

It is disgraceful that the Tertiary Education Commission appears to have backed down on funding cuts for the Southland Institute of Technology for courses it runs outside Southland.

Media reports suggest more than $6 million in additional funding is to go to SIT after the TEC previously decided SIT funding for courses outside Southland would be held at 2006 levels.

Invercargill mayor Tim Shadbolt’s blackmail with his threat to campaign to “bring down the government” appear to have been successful.

This decision seriously undermines the basis of the government’s new funding policy for tertiary education. It’s a policy which has been 10 years too late but is now being undercut by belligerent parochialism.

It’s a supreme irony that SIT is to retain funding for courses run outside its local area when student numbers at its Invercargill campus have decreased. Its local enrolments are down and staff-to-student ratios have gone backwards in recent years from 1:13 to 1:16.

SIT represents the worst features of the failed former policy. It is sacrificing the priorities of local Southland students in favour of cherry-picking elsewhere. This pointless and wasteful competition is damaging quality for all students.


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