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Funding cuts set to bite at polytechnics & wananga

Funding cuts set to bite at polytechnics and wananga

Polytechnics and wananga should be preparing for significant reductions in government funding, says National's Education spokesman, Bill English.

Figures obtained by Mr English show that Budget announcements on community education funding will see polytechnics and wananga lose millions of dollars in funding this year.

The Government has cut the community education funding rate by $700 per fulltime student, from $5,700 to $5,000.

Mr English says Education Minister Steve Maharey has finally realised that institutions have been over-funded for running non-assessed, low-cost courses.

"The Minister ignored exponential growth until it was too late, and now he has to haul it back.

"Some polytechnics and wananga have used these courses as cash-cows to prop-up less profitable courses.

"Polytechnics and wananga will lose millions if Mr Maharey follows through on his promise to cap community education enrolment numbers."

Community education enrolments have jumped from 85,000 in 2000 to 461,000 in 2003, with a subsequent jump in funding from $12.6 to $104 million.

"It is unlikely the Government will allow some polytechnics and wananga to spend anything like last year's levels on community education.

"This is a good opportunity for polytechnics and wananga to get back to basics - providing good quality vocational education the economy so badly needs," says Mr English.

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