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Stamping Out Competition In Nursing Education

Wednesday 20th Dec 2000

Universal College of Learning threats to take Massey University to court action over a nursing course is like cats snarling over bones while a dog stalks them, said ACT Tertiary Education spokesman Stephen Franks.

“The Minister in charge of Tertiary Education, Steve Maharey, himself a former academic, vowed ‘to stamp out tertiary competition’. He wants power to choose which cat gets the bones, when in fact the dog may get them.

“All New Zealand tertiary providers could soon be fighting for their survival. As technology improves, courses already available at a distance from such internationally prestigious schools as MIT and Harvard will become more attractive.

“Top institutions are not worried about whether they can hack it. They do not need to ask the Government, or the Courts, to shut out their competition. But competition is seen by the left's central planners as "wasteful duplication".

“Minister Maharey's ‘co-ordinate and co-operate’ policies could spell longer term disaster for our tertiary sector.

“Without competition students don’t have choice, and without competitive threats to their jobs, managers and academics have fewer incentives to be responsive to their students. Top universities are already selecting institutions around the world to carry their brands. And they are establishing satellite campuses in countries with promising students where the local academics are too hidebound, or off the pace, to be considered worthy.

“Melbourne University is already on the prowl, while Auckland and Otago Universities are making sure they have the connections, and the financial capacity, to compete.

“In the knowledge economy, vibrant industries grow where people want to live, and people want to live where there is the buzz of top schools and universities. New Zealand institutions which plan to stay afloat after Mr Maharey’s Tertiary Education Advisory committee (TEAC) is a ridiculous memory may utilise one or both of two survival strategies. They can offer an exciting ‘campus experience’ like Otago, and/or they can offer an internationally recognised qualification that keeps open the chance of competing in a global market for skill.

“New Zealand’s reactionary Government is quite mad if it thinks it can hold up this tidal wave with antiquated ‘let’s make all the universities co-ordinate and co-operate’ regulations, said Stephen Franks.

ENDS


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