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English’s amazing u-turn on community education

28 June 2004 Media Statement

Bill English’s amazing u-turn on community education

The government is accusing National of cynically playing parish pump politics after the party’s education spokesperson, Bill English, burst in to print this afternoon railing about community education funding cuts for polytechnics.

The comments stand in stark contrast to his strident calls for months to cut funding for community education courses – which he has previously labelled as ‘scandalous spending of taxpayer funds’.

Acting Associate Education (Tertiary Education) Minister Margaret Wilson said National can’t have it both ways.

“This latest criticism from the National party on funding for community education courses has absolutely no credibility. Bill English has spent months demanding funding cuts, yet now that the government has announced new funding arrangements he has suddenly decided that the status quo must be allowed to stand.

“The funding changes announced by the government last month will ensure that polytechnics and other tertiary institutions can continue to offer community education courses in the future. Overall student numbers will return to the numbers who participated in these courses in 2002 and 2003, before the unanticipated rapid growth which occurred this year.

“The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) will be talking with individual institutions about how the changes will impact on them.

“In any case, all tertiary providers are also negotiating profiles with the TEC this year which will set out which courses they will receive public funding for in 2006 and beyond. In order to receive public funding institutions will need to demonstrate that their courses meet community needs. This may result in fewer community education places being allocated to particular institutions,” Margaret Wilson said.

ENDS

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