PPPs Bring No Benefits to Education
The education sector union NZEI Te Riu Roa says there are no financial or educational benefits for New Zealanders in public private partnerships.
The Government has announced it is moving ahead with plans to establish public private partnerships in education, saying a tender process could start as early as next year.
NZEI says that is disappointing. An NZEI survey last year found that 85% of teachers and principals did not want or were unsure about the private sector owning or running school buildings.
Experience overseas also shows that public-private partnerships can result in poorly maintained buildings and jeopardise school and community access to facilities. They raise the threat of foreign ownership of New Zealand education, and open up education to the advertising or branding of private investment.
NZEI National Executive member Ian Leckie says “a school’s ability to focus on teaching and learning should not be compromised by an outside party such as a private developer who would be managing the school for profit.”
“There is also no evidence to suggest that PPPs deliver a significant cost benefit to taxpayers. The Government itself says that building new school property through a PPP could result in only a ‘modest saving’. The Australian example it gives is a 2% saving which is negligible.”
The government claims there will be safeguards put in place but Ian Leckie says it still boils down to private firms financing, building and maintaining new schools over a long term contract of 20-30 years.
“Education should not be managed for economic or corporate gain and the only thing that can safeguard New Zealand’s education system is for it to be kept completely in public hands,” he says.