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Oh goody, another league table from National

Tertiary Education Spokesperson

22 January 2013 MEDIA STATEMENT

Oh goody, another league table from National

“The release of statistics on what graduates from different disciplines earn is hardly a revelation and does nothing to improve the quality of tertiary education or access to it, Grant Robertson says.

“I don’t think too many people will be surprised to learn that a medical graduate earns significantly more than a performing arts graduate. There really is very little that we did not already know in this report. At best it is mildly interesting; at worst it fuels the view that when it comes to education National and Steven Joyce see the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

“Is this really where Steven Joyce should be focusing his energy? It’s more important to students and to New Zealand that we develop an accessible and high quality tertiary system. At the moment much of what National is doing is working against that. Cuts to allowance and loan eligibility and declining overall funding are the real issues Steven Joyce should be focusing on.

“The big issue for students choosing their tertiary courses is careers advice in schools. This is not just about earning potential, it is about working with students from early in the secondary career about what they are interested in, and what possibilities there are. There is good work being done in this area, but it is not consistent across New Zealand, and is a vital part of allowing young people to achieve their potential.

“By focusing just on what past graduates have earned Mr Joyce is also missing the point that future career opportunities may be very different. Qualifications in design and digital areas may well be far more lucrative in the future than they have been in the past. And a degree in one area need not define a career. As Bob Jones used to say, he would often prefer to appoint an Arts graduate than a Commerce one because of the breadth of skills they picked up in their degree.

“Steven Joyce’s focus on earnings also will be ringing alarm bells that he will in some way link funding for institutions to these statistics. This would be wrong and severely undermine tertiary education providers.

“We need a tertiary education system that is delivering to New Zealand quality graduates from a range of disciplines who will help us grow a sustainable economy and healthy and happy society. That’s about more than backward looking statistics about earnings,” Grant Robertson says.


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