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National fiddles while Universities burn

Media Statement
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

30 August, 1999

National fiddles while Universities burn

Students are disgraced with the new funding rates for tertiary education announced by National last week.

“Once again this government is not dealing with the real, harsh issues that students face. Student are plunging deeper into debt while National propose market and competition-driven policies that will ultimately destroy the tertiary sector,” said Education Co-Vice President Sherid Thackwray.

The Government has proposed to increase tuition funding by $5 million.
There is no substantial increase in funding. This extra funding only covers increasing student enrolments. $5 million is a drop in the bucket when compared to the $95 million removed from the tertiary sector during the Asian economic crisis, last year.
“The fact remains that fees continue to rise because National has again failed to address the inadequate base rate funding level,” commented Eva Neitzert, AUSA’s Education Co-Vice President.

The release states that as of the year 2000, private institutions are to be funded on the same basis as public institutions. “National’s plan to fund private training establishments at the same rate as public institutions is most disturbing and quite obviously the first step towards the privatisation of tertiary education,” continued Ms Neitzert.

“Quality Assurance Control Planning was promised in advance of full public funding of private training establishments. This has not happened.” Ms Thackwray comments, “once again National have broken their promises.”

The policy release also adds that the disciplines of science and technology, engineering, postgraduate and research based are being further funded. “This has serious implications for the equality of opportunity of all students, when certain disciplines are being privileged over others. While any funding increase is to be welcomed, the entire sector needs to be properly resourced – not just those disciplines favoured by industry,” continued Ms Thackwray.

“This announcement simply confirms what everyone already knows – that National simply isn’t interested in guaranteeing access to a decent, quality public tertiary education for every student.” AUSA President Efeso Collins concluded.

ENDS

For further information, contact:
Efeso Collins (President) Ph: (09) 309-0789 extn. 373
Eva Neitzert and Sherid Thackwray (Education Vice Presidents) Ph: (09) 309-0789 extn. 204

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