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Tertiary strategy out of step with real issues

5 March 2014

Tertiary strategy out of step with real issues

The single minded focus on economic outcomes evident in the Government’s Tertiary Education Strategy released today is out of step with the real issues facing New Zealand, the Green Party said today.

“New Zealand is facing increasing inequality and serious environmental challenges, yet the Government is focusing our universities solely on economic outcomes,” said Green Party tertiary education spokesperson David Clendon.

“By failing to recognise or understand the importance of environmental and social outcomes, or their effect on sustainable economic wellbeing, the Government is choosing not to address the breadth of issues we face as a country.

“Today’s announcement reflects this Government’s obsession with short term economic gain, rather than a balanced view of social, environmental and economic factors.

“The role of universities has always been the critic and conscience of society, with a commitment to offering breadth and depth in education across many disciplines. This role is invaluable, and should not be sacrificed for a misguided emphasis on economics.

“Universities are also the training ground for researchers across a range of issues. The new changes to the Performance-Base Research Fund (PBRF) model also announced today remove from the existing objectives a commitment to prevent undue concentration of research funding.

“The Government’s changes will lead to more public dollars being devoted to areas of research with commercial potential that already enjoy support from external funders.

“Important ‘public good’ researchers will find it even harder to attract adequate funding, which will be felt across sectors.

“This Government is sending a clear message to students, teachers, researchers and the workforce engaged in vitally important non-economic activity that their work has less value,” said Mr Clendon.

ENDS

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