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National party set to undermine tertiary education

Association of University Staff

9 September 2008

National party set to undermine public provision of tertiary education

The National party appears intent on undermining the provision of public tertiary education, with a statement yesterday that private training providers should receive the same level of funding as public-sector institutions, according to the Association of University Staff (AUS).

AUS general secretary Nanette Cormack said that the National party's tertiary-education spokesperson, Dr Paul Hutchison, has complained that private training institutions do not receive public funding to provide real-estate courses where the same or similar courses are being already being successfully provided by polytechnics.

Ms Cormack said the suggestion from Dr Hutchison, that public and private tertiary-education providers should compete for funding to run the same or similar courses, revealed that the National party, if elected to government, was on an ideological course to return the tertiary-education sector to a free-for-all competitive environment.

"Considerable time and effort have been spent over the last few years developing a tertiary-education strategy that is responsive to the economic and social goals and needs of the country, and to ensure that the component parts of the sector complement rather than unnecessarily compete against each other," Ms Cormack said.

"Dr Hutchison clearly wants to return to the uncontrolled, wasteful, and deregulated practices of the past; that he is championing the public funding of private real-estate courses, particularly at a time when the real-estate market has stagnated, simply serves to illustrate that the National party cares more about its private-sector friends than in the quality and relevance of tertiary education," Ms Cormack concluded.


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