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Advertising Before Education In Tertiary Sector

Advertising Before Education Continues In Tertiary Sector

The Green Party today said increased competition for students by tertiary institutions was further increasing barriers to tertiary education.

Research by AC Nielson show that some universities and polytechnics have increased their spending on advertising by over 20 per cent as competition for students continues.

Examples of increased spending include Otago University spending as much in the first half of this year as it did in the whole of 1999 - including over $200,000 on television advertising.

Green Party Education Spokesperson Ian Ewen-Street said this expenditure highlighted the very serious condition the tertiary sector was in, despite a change in government and promises to students of better access to high quality education.

"Despite the change of Government the tertiary sector remains in poor health," he said. "If anything, the competitive focus between institutions is increasing in direct proportion to universities shedding staff, merging departments and cutting courses."

Mr Ewen-Street said that as more money was spent trying to lure students from other universities it followed that less money was available for real education.

He said he was alarmed at figures from the New Zealand University Students Association which showed spending on advertising at six universities and polytechs increasing by 58 per cent between 1998 - 2000 while student numbers at those institutions grew by just five per cent.

"Last year Massey University was one of the top 10 television advertisers for a week, exceeding even KFC," he said. "If tertiary education was more affordable more people would go and institutions would not have to advertise to attract students," he said.

Mr Ewen-Street said there had been plenty of talk about the knowledge economy and the need to increase the skills of New Zealanders but the Government needed to provide some tangible support for Kiwis to learn.

"In a sector that has been restructured under 15 years of right wing government strong measures are required to start putting things right," he said. "A decent funding boost per full time student would be a concrete way of restoring the balance between competition and education provision."

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