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


University Education A Critical Investment

Media Release 9 September 2009

University Education A Critical Investment

International developments have once again demonstrated that university education is a critical investment for economies, individuals and societies at large, according to the body which represents the New Zealand university system.

Derek McCormack, Deputy Chair of the New Zealand Vice-Chancellors’ Committee, says the release of the OECD report Education at a Glance 2009 and the passing yesterday of Australian legislation increasing investment in university education send a clear message about where New Zealand tertiary education policy needs to head.

The OECD report states that Government budgets and the overall economy reap an advantage from higher numbers of graduates. ” Growing advantages for the better educated and likely continuing high levels of unemployment as economies move out of recession will provide more and more young people with strong incentives to stay on in education. Governments need to take account of this in planning education policies.”

Mr McCormack says that message is backed by the move which will see Australian universities funded for every student they teach by 2012. “They are moving away from a system of rationed places at the very time New Zealand universities are struggling to balance increasing demand in the face of a capped enrolment funding system.”

A key finding in the OECD report is the average net public return across OECD countries from providing a male student with a university education. After factoring in all the direct and indirect costs, the return is almost US$52,000, nearly twice the average amount of money originally invested.

For female students, the average net public return is lower because of their lower subsequent earnings. “But overall, the figures provide a powerful incentive to expand higher education in most countries through both public and private financing,” the report says.

“Going to university pays dividends in later life through higher salaries, better health and less vulnerability to unemployment,” the OECD analysis shows. “In most countries, the difference in pay levels between people who have degrees and people who don’t is continuing to grow.”

Mr McCormack says the Australian legislation allows universities to decide how many places they will offer in approved courses, with the government funding all places offered to those students. The Bill also makes provision for an historic increase to the indexation of government university funding.

“The NZVCC has long argued for true indexation of university funding in this country to compensate the institutions for annual cost increases which exceed the consumer price index. Our university system is under considerable pressure to maintain its international quality in the face of enrolment and cost pressures and what is required is increased investment for greater economic return.”

Mr McCormack pointed to the words of OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria: “Education has always been a critical investment for the future, for individuals, for economies and for societies at large - in today’s economic environment, the incentives for individuals to invest time and money in education are higher than ever.”


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


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: Anna Coddington Beams

Anna Coddington's thin, wispy vocals fit her songs beautifully, providing a wonderful lilting quality that pervades her latest album, producing instant ear worms. 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>>

Howard Davis: Avantdale Bowling Club

Auckland rapper and MC Tom Scott brought his stunning jazz-infused Taite Music Prize-winning project Avantdale Bowling Club to the Opera House headlining Wellington's 2020 Jazz Festival. More>>

Howard Davis: Troy Kingi Rules The San Fran

The award-winning Northland musician performed songs from his new record The Ghost of Freddie Cesar, the fourth installment in his 10/10/10 series - ten albums in ten years in ten genres. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland