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Reduced quality of education reflected in QS Rankings

Reduced quality of education reflected in QS Rankings – Students Paying More for Less

Press Release: AUSA

Media Release: Friday 13 September

On Tuesday 10th, it was announced that the University of Auckland dropped 12 places – from 82 to 94 – in the annual QS rankings.

“This drop in rankings is a direct result in adequate levels of funding from the government,” says Auckland University Student Association (AUSA) President Daniel Haines. “Other countries see university spending as an investment; ours sees it as a cost to be contained. As a consequence, we simply aren’t keeping pace with the rest of the world.”

“Despite this worsening situation, higher fees are demanded every year from students. Over the last four years the cumulative rise in tuition fees at the University of Auckland equates to 21.6% increase. University students are paying more but getting less.”

“Without the funding it needs, the University of Auckland has seen increased costs at the health centre, longer waiting time before accessing critical counselling services, reduced access to computers and study space, an over subscription of people using recreation facilities, amidst a paradigm shift of seeing education as a commodity, and one of less and less value”, says Haines.

“The Minister for Tertiary Education, Steven Joyce, claims an increase in government spending on universities over the past four years but when adjusted in terms of numbers of students and cost increases there’s actually been a fall. It is only students who contribute at increasing rates.”

“New Zealand Universities are faced with the impossible task of punching with international heavyweights with inadequate levels of investment. The QS results are based on a metric which consider class sizes, citations, industry income, research and international outlook. These are real measures of a university’s quality, and, accordingly, the drop in the rankings reflects a real reduction in the relative quality of education on offer.”

“This is significant. Since 2006 New Zealand’s leading university has dropped 48 places in these world rankings. There is a real risk of permanent reputational damage for New Zealand. At the University of Auckland international student fees effectively subsidise all other aspects of the university. While the university has undertaken significant efforts to attract more international students a drop in the rankings puts that work, and the financial sustainability of the institution, at risk. This is a story being repeated throughout New Zealand.”

“Yet New Zealand’s Vice Chancellors appear too afraid to publically criticise the Minister because they are dependent for around half their budgets on funding from central government. Instead, numerous press releases issued by Universities yesterday celebrated success when in reality almost all universities fell in the rankings.”

“Instead of spending his time at Beerfests in Japan, supposedly recruiting international students, Steven Joyce needs to have his eye on the ball here: he needs to convince his cabinet and caucus colleagues that tertiary education is worth investing in, so that there is something to attract the students of the world to. Joyce has totally taken his eye off education and New Zealand’s future is suffering as a consequence.


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