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Minister must explain the wasted millions

Minister must explain the wasted millions

"Fee paying students must call on Tertiary Education Minister Steve Maharey to explain how he spent $15 million last year on radio sing-a-long studies," says National Party Education spokesman Bill English.

"Its time for some accountability over the waste of millions of dollars of much needed tertiary education funding.

"Last year Tairawhiti Polytechnic in Gisborne was paid $11 million of tertiary education money for handing out a waiata songbook to enrolled students who were asked to sing along with the songs on the radio.

"There is no qualification at the end of the course, which consists of five half hour lessons, broadcast each week, for eight weeks.

"Tairawhiti Polytechnic must have enrolled between eight and ten thousand people in Gisborne for this programme to have achieved over 2000 EFTS and $11 million in Government funding.

"Eastern Institute of Technology in Hawke's Bay earned $4 million on the same programme 'He Waiata Ma Te Whanau' (songs for the whole family).

"There is no way of knowing whether the students did the course and nothing for them at the end of it," notes Mr English.

"I have no objection to people learning songs for cultural reasons, but for the taxpayer to be contributing $15 million towards it is ridiculous," he says.

"Steve Maharey has been talking about steering the tertiary system for the last five years. He has produced documents, strategies legislation and a new multi-million dollar Tertiary Education Commission. Now it's time for some accountability," says Mr English.

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