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University Performance Information Damaging

University Performance Information Damaging and Misleading

Massey University extramural students are infuriated by the Government’s continuing attack on part time studies.

Performance information published by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) is misleading and favours institutions that focus on full time internal students. Massey, with its large part time extramural cohort, is being penalised for providing education to those balancing study with work, parenting and financial pressures.

“The government has lost the plot when it comes to the value of part time study,” says Ralph Springett, President of the Massey University Extramural Students’ Society. “It is ridiculous that students who avoid taking a student loan and work productively are the ones singled out as non performers.”

With performance information linked to funding, the pressure will now be on for Massey to reduce its risk around part time learners. This can be achieved by providing more support for students or reducing the number of part time students - as happened when Massey’s summer school abruptly closed enrolments in August.

“These figures are not useful for students as Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce has suggested. They mislead and confuse.

“While the TEC has stated that low completion does not mean the provider was poor, that context will not be obvious to students. The information only serves funding purposes,” says Mr Springett.

Linking performance with funding is a driver for student service levy increases. Student services are a key tool in improving completions and institutions now have a clear incentive to increase these costs. In the last two years Massey University has increased its student services levy by 300% in order to provide better support for students in the absence of adequate government funding.

“It appears as if the government has not thought this through at all,” says Mr Springett. “We now have a tertiary system that cannot contain its rising fees, fails to offer students any meaningful information about the sector, cannot provide the courses it advertises at the start of the year and does not value the lowest-public-cost form of education. Shame on you, Minister Joyce.”


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