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Briefing papers show big issues for tertiary ed.

Simon Power

National Tertiary Education Spokesperson

6th September 2002

Briefing papers show big issues for tertiary education

Labour's reforms to tertiary education have caused serious damage to both students and institutes, and particularly Maori, says National's Tertiary Education spokesperson Simon Power.

"Education briefing papers released today say that half of the public tertiary institutions are not generating enough surplus "even to maintain long term viability". Labour's fee freeze has put a financial straitjacket on universities, and this is the result.

"The large increase in students studying at private providers shows the folly of cutting their funding. The report says that "traditional pathways into tertiary education are changing" and that "learners are increasingly choosing private providers". 19% of all students are now studying with private providers.

"The capped funding for Private Training Establishments has hurt Maori most of all. The report notes that "growth in Maori participation is now concentrated in private providers and wananga" and that wananga now cover 4.5% of all students. So much for closing the gaps.

"The figures show that high-level tertiary education is still not a priority for the Government. Vocational education and PhD graduation rates are still well below the OECD average.

"The report also outlines concerns over quality assurance, goals for the sector that are "less clear", and say that "risks associated with change are likely to be unusually high". These are some serious issues for Steve Maharey to deal with, and National will be monitoring the Ministers every move in this area," said Mr Power.

Ends

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