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NZVCC releases Briefing for the Incoming Govt


NZVCC Electronic News Bulletin     Vol. 9  No. 2      17 February 2009


Lead item …


NZVCC releases Briefing for the Incoming Government

The NZVCC today released its Briefing for the Incoming Government which was presented to Tertiary Education Minister Anne Tolley, Research, Science and Technology Minister Dr Wayne Mapp and Infrastructure Minister Bill English when Cabinet was announced in November.

Last week university Chancellors joined Vice-Chancellors in discussing issues raised in the briefing with Minister Tolley.  The nine-point plan for action by government and the universities which forms the basis for the briefing has been widely publicised and the Minister has indicated her willingness to engage with the university sector on specific issues.  The briefing document is available on the NZVCC website:

www.nzvcc.ac.nz

Other items …

 

International education numbers holding up

Education New Zealand reports that while the full impact of the global recession on the country’s export education industry will become clearer over the next few weeks, an initial indication gives some reason for optimism.  At the start of this month there was a total of 67,530 international students with valid student visas in New Zealand compared with 63,271 at the same time last year, and 63,146 at the same time in 2007.

Education confirmed as Australia’s third largest export

Meanwhile, the Australian Bureau of Statistics has confirmed education as Australia’s third largest export industry behind coal and iron ore.  Education exports from that country increased from A$12.2 billion in 2007 to A$15.5 billion in 2008, making it the leading service industry export ahead of tourism.  For the past decade, Australian education exports have been growing by an annual average of 15.7% compared to 10.8% for total exports.

Commenting on this growth, Universities Australia Chief Executive Dr Glenn Withers said that at a time when commodity prices were falling further public investment in universities was opportune to sustain the export achievement and assist economic recovery.  The NZVCC has delivered a similar message to the new government, noting the importance of international students to New Zealand university income, and calling for increased public investment in universities here as a vital part of the country’s infrastructure.  Recent commentary has highlighted the economic impact of New Zealand’s export education industry – currently running at $2.3 billion a year in export earnings and ahead of such industries as wine ($902 million).


Deficit could affect proposal to increase Australian university enrolment

 
A proposal for a huge expansion in university domestic enrolments contained in the latest review of Australian higher education could be affected by infrastructure spending that has plunged that country into deficit, University World News reports.  Before the global credit crisis the likelihood that the federal government would accept the review’s recommendations was high.  However, an A$42 billion infrastructure “spending spree” has put the Australian budget into the red with a possible negative outcome for the review’s recommendations.

The Australian government’s reaction to the Bradley review is likely to become known next month at a conference organised by Universities Australia.  Education Minister Julia Gillard and the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Senator Kim Carr, will address the event with speculation that they will use the opportunity to spell out their review response.  Minister Gillard, also Deputy Prime Minister, welcomed the review report when it was released late last year.  The report recommended an increase in enrolments so the proportion of Australian 25 to 34-year-olds with a bachelor’s degree or above would increase from the current 29% to 40% by 2020.  Researchers estimate that will require 284,000 additional Australian university students on top of the 800,000 currently enrolled.

The Cutler review of Australian innovation was also carried out last year and when he released that report, Senator Carr stressed the importance of university research.  As the report recommended a large increase in spending on such research, this was taken as an indication of government support for that recommendation.

Recently, Minister Gillard said a series of roundtable discussions were taking place to give stakeholders the opportunity to respond to the Bradley review recommendations in a confidential forum.  On the Cutler review, she said the future of Australia’s national research and innovation systems and the higher education sector were closely linked as integral components of the economy.  While the Bradley and Cutler reviews had outlined a range of issues specific to each sector, there were a number of elements of both that were interconnected.  The Australian government had established inter-departmental committees to co-ordinate the response where it was appropriate.

ENDS

The New Zealand Vice-Chancellors’ Committee Electronic News Bulletin is produced every second week and distributed to parties with an interest in the Committee’s affairs.  Back issues are archived on the NZVCC website: www.nzvcc.ac.nz

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