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Joyce’s privatisation agenda damages foundation education

Tertiary Education, Skills and Training Spokesperson

03 December 2012 MEDIA STATEMENT

Joyce’s privatisation agenda damages foundation education

Steven Joyce's ideological agenda to increase the privatisation of tertiary education is damaging the quality and provision of vital foundation and bridging programmes in our polytechnics, says Grant Robertson Labour Tertiary Education, Skills and Training spokesperson.

Mr Robertson was speaking to the Foundation and Bridging Education of New Zealand (FABENZ) conference today.

“Foundation and bridging education are an essential part of our education system. They often provide a second chance to people who have struggled at school or who are looking to improve their lives.

“But due to the Government’s cuts to polytechnic funding, many of these courses are being cut and the staff who deliver them are losing their jobs. The latest cuts have seen $32 million removed and nearly 100 jobs are to go.

"The programmes have been allocated to private providers, some of whom are simply not up to the job. One Polytechnic has reported being approached by one of the new private providers asking for curriculum materials. This is a direct result of a rushed tendering process and a focus on a least cost model. This puts in danger the quality of programmes and the future of students looking to get ahead.

"There is a need to ensure that foundation education meets the needs of students, and that the courses are of good quality. There is a place for private training providers where there are gaps in public provision. But Steven Joyce seems determined to create those gaps by undermining the polytechs.

"Improving the quality of foundation and bridging programmes will only happen if a collaborative approach is adopted that recognises the complex task that faces educators. It is being made more difficult by a Minister who refuses to take off his ideological blinkers," Grant Robertson says.


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