Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search


Labour Starts “Friends of Private Education” Lobby

Labour Starts “Friends of Private Education” Lobby Group

We are astonished that the Labour government is working hard to form a “Friends of Private Education” lobby group to push for more private sector involvement in education worldwide in the current GATS (General Agreement on Trade in Services) negotiations at the World Trade Organisation.

New Zealand education is already under threat through GATS. Although the original commitments the government made under GATS in 1994 cover “private education” only, the changes in government funding since then mean that any part of our public education system will struggle to be exempted.

Already the government funds all sectors of education – public and private – on a commercial or semi-commercial basis through market based mechanisms. This is in itself enough to place our public schools, polytechs, universities and pre-schools under threat from foreign predation.

Added to this is the real danger that the momentum which could be built by this initiative would bring greater pressure for the commercialisation of all aspects of education in New Zealand.

Already the government is struggling with issues of quality in tertiary education where private providers have for several years fleeced New Zealand taxpayers and students. In a Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) report released in June the TEC reported that of the 480 Private Training Establishment (PTE) qualifications reviewed to that point a staggering 64% were found to be of low quality or low relevance. On top of this the TEC reported that some PTE’s withdrew qualifications before they were assessed because they knew they would not meet the TEC criteria. We can only guess that the 64% figure would be much higher were these qualifications taken into account.

This is an educational disaster which should never have been allowed to happen. The public has had a stomach-full of low quality tertiary courses funded by taxpayers.

Despite all this Labour is forging ahead with unqualified support for big business involvement in education. Labour’s “Friends of Private Education Exports” lobby group will be a selection of individuals representing big business interests.

In a document released on the new initiative Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade officials claim that “New Zealand will not use the group to advocate commitments on public education”. This has a hollow ring given the existing threats outlined above and the knowledge that in a previous round of negotiations Labour requested the European Union countries open up their public education systems to foreign businesses!

QPEC will resist all moves by Labour to play fast and loose with education in the interests of a wealthy elite of businessmen.

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Controlling the High Ground

Stephen Johnson's raw and angry film not only poses important questions with scrupulous authenticity, but also provides a timely reminder of the genocidal consequences of casual bigotry and xenophobia. More>>

Howard Davis: Dryzabone - Robert Conolly's The Dry

After the terrible devastation caused by last year’s bushfires, which prompted hundreds of Australians to shelter in the ocean to escape incineration and destroyed uncountable amounts of wildlife, The Dry has been released during a totally different kind of dry spell. More>>

Howard Davis: Benjamin Ree's The Painter and The Thief

The Norwegian filmmaker had long been fascinated by art thieves who commit high-stakes crimes with a delicate touch when a chance Google search in 2015 uncovered a botched heist in Oslo. More>>

Howard Davis: Hit the Road, Jack - Chloé Zhao's Nomadland

Nomadland is perhaps the ultimately 'road' movie as it follows a group of dispossessed and disenfranchised vagabonds who find a form of communal refuge in camp sites and trailer parks after the economic contraction of 2008. More>>

Howard Davis: Byrneing Down the House - Spike Lee's American Utopia

Lee does an admirable job capturing Byrne's stunning live performance of his latest album, but the real star of the show is the staging. More>>

Howard Davis: The Phoenix Foundation Friend Ship Tour Docks in Wellington

A sense of local pride was certainly running high at the Opera House on Saturday night, as the lads ran through a tasty little set drawn mostly from their latest album Friend Ship (splash out for Xmas on the shocking pink extra-thick vinyl edition). More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland