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National will improve tertiary education

Paul Hutchison MP
National Party Tertiary Education Spokesman

5 November 2008

National will improve tertiary education


National Party Tertiary Education spokesman Paul Hutchison says over the past nine years, Labour’s approach to tertiary education has lurched from allowing uncontrolled funding and arbitrary growth in low-quality courses, through to heavy-handed centrally driven control.

“National will seek a better balance between, on the one hand, freeing up education providers to innovate and respond to economic and community demand and, on the other, ensuring the Government has certainty about overall levels of spending.”

National will:

• Ensure, through clear funding signals and spending controls, that providers of education and training are encouraged to offer the courses the economy needs and that students want – not the cheapest courses that attract the most government funding and are the easiest to run.

• Retain restrictions on the amount by which institutions are able to annually increase fees for publicly funded courses.

“The Tertiary Education Commission, which was initially intended to be a lean funding body, has grown into a large and demanding agency that places an excessive compliance burden on education providers and stifles innovation.”

National will:

• Clarify the role of the Tertiary Education Commission, trim its bureaucracy, and streamline its functions.

• Ensure that information collected by the Government about the quality of publicly funded tertiary courses is made readily available to the public. This will include, for example, completion and retention rates.

“National is up front about its determination to get the economy growing and it is not interested in joining Labour in an uncosted ‘promise and hope’ bidding war. Labour’s promise on student allowances is booked against future budgets. That is irresponsible and reckless. But National is ambitious for New Zealand, and over time we do want to expand the eligibility criteria for student allowances.”

National is also targeting specialties and qualifications which the country is in need of.

“That means helping more doctors, nurses, and midwives with a programme of voluntary bonding for those who agree to work in hard-to-staff areas. That policy will also be extended to some teachers and rural vets as we look to fill the gaps from the brain drain that has been accelerating in recent years.”

National has repeated its commitment to retain interest free student loans, CPI indexation of loans for living costs, and the introduction of a 10% repayment bonus for graduates who make voluntary repayments.

ENDS

To view National’s Tertiary Education policy visit: To view National’s Tertiary Education policy visit: http://national.org.nz/files/2008/Tertiary_Education.pdf

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