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COOL report welcomed

5 August 2004 Media Statement

COOL report welcomed

Associate Education (Tertiary Education) Minister Steve Maharey is welcoming a Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) report into enrolments in the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology’s COOL community education course.

The report was released by the TEC today. It was commissioned to determine whether the Polytechnic had complied with tertiary funding guidelines and whether all students claimed for were properly enrolled. In line with the report’s findings the Polytechnic is to repay $83,284 used to purchase rewards to students and it has agreed to an evaluation to determine whether the students who signed up for the COOL courses engaged in the programme. A separate review by the Auditor-General into alleged conflicts of interest by staff members involved in developing the COOL programme is continuing.

The review comes as the government introduces a new strategic funding system for tertiary education, which enables the TEC to prioritise its investment in tertiary education to better meet community research, and skill needs.

Steve Maharey said the government wants to ensure taxpayers’ funds are being effectively invested.

“I’m pleased that Polytechnic is to repay the $83,284 it spent on book vouchers for students in the COOL programme and the TEC is to sit down with CPIT to work out what the students actually learned.

“The government is opposed to tertiary providers using rewards and inducements to encourage enrolments. We want students to think carefully about what they study and to not have these decisions influenced by free goods or other offers.

“We also want to ensure that students gain genuine educational benefits from community education courses, even though it is not practical to formally assess what they have learned in the same way students studying longer degree and other programmes are.

“In May I asked the Tertiary Education Commission to rewrite the tertiary funding guidelines to ban the use of inducements of any kind, irrespective of how they are funded. This means that it will not be possible to any funds, including those from third parties (for example local businesses), to pay for inducements while receiving any public funding for the same courses,” Steve Maharey said.

In May the government announced a cap on community education enrolments and a temporarily reduced rate of subsidy for these courses. The permanent rate of subsidy for community education courses is being looked at as part of a wider review of tertiary funding rates.

ENDS

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