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TEU launches funding paper ahead of budget

TEU launches funding paper ahead of budget

TEU launches the fifth of its Te Kaupapa Whaioranga papers tomorrow, this time outlining what New Zealand needs to do to restore funding to its public tertiary education system.

The latest Te Kaupapa Whaioranga document will precede the government's budget by a week, and will give an alternative perspective for the direction parliament should take to support high quality, accessible and equitable tertiary education.

A week out from Budget 2014 and there has been no hint of any significant announcements about tertiary education. It seems likely that universities, wānanga, polytechnics and others involved in public tertiary education can expect more of the same.

However, TEU national president Lesley Francey says people should judge budget by its commitment to public education.

"If treats education like an investment in the community and not a subsidy for private business it will be a success. If this gives more people the chance to study who would not otherwise get an education it will be a success. But if it is more of the same then it will exacerbate the failed cuts and underfunding of the past five budgets."

Since 2009, government funding for tertiary education, including student support has fallen from $4.6 billion to $4.2 billion. If it had adjusted for inflation that 2009 figure of $4.6 billion would now be $5 billion. Treasury forecasts that tertiary education spending will remain nearly flat until at least 2018 while inflation will rise another 11 percent by the end of 2018.

Over a similar period (2009 to 2012), the number of actual student places (not funded student places) grew by over 20,000 people. The tertiary education system is funding more people for less money while costs rise.

Lesley Francey says the budgets of the last five years are unsustainable.

"Our real experience of recent budgets is hundreds of good tertiary education staff have lost their jobs, as institutions tighten their belts. Students real experience is a government that has kept its promise not to reintroduce interest on student loans but has taken every other pernicious step it can to limit access to education and impose higher costs on students."

TEU will launch its Te Kaupapa Whaioranga - Funding Tertiary Education paper at:
Unitec marae Te Noho Kotahitanga
Friday, 9 May 2014


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