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Govt. tertiary plans 'kneejerk' - Labour

Labour
2000 web siteLabour associate education spokesperson (tertiary) Steve Maharey has slammed Government plans to provide scholarships for postgraduate science and technology students as a "knee-jerk" and "panic" response to its to lay the foundations for a knowledge economy over the past nine years.

Steve Maharey said today it was alarming to hear that "out of the blue" National intended to start determining what students will study and what research they will do.

"Only months ago National was totally and utterly opposed to any form of intervention. Its White Paper on Tertiary Education set the scene for privatisation of the tertiary system," Steve Maharey said.

"Now, after extreme right wingers like Maurice Williamson spend a few days in Finland, they are going to start telling universities what they will do.

"We've asked large numbers of questions on planning for the development of the tertiary sector. On every single occasion, they have said they do not know. In other words, they are flying blind on this issue because, in nine years, they have done no research.

"Lurching from one model of funding to another is a sign of panic not careful policy development. It is pathetic."

Mr Maharey said that it was "just silly" for the government to boost the number of science graduates without an overall plan for building a knowledge economy.

"The main reason that science has dropped off as a preferred subject for students is that anyone can see that science is no longer a desirable career. Just boosting number of students will do nothing if scientists cannot get secure properly funded careers. "

"Panicking a few months before an election will not do. We need to thoughtfully put in place the structures which will move the system in a new direction. Labour is ready to do the job," Steve Maharey said.

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