The minister of tertiary education has rightly identified the need for greater accountability in spending on tertiary education, says TEU national president Dr Tom Ryan.
Ryan was responding to Steven Joyce’s first speech as minister of Tertiary Education this morning. The minister called for 5-10 percent of government funding to tertiary providers to be linked to student performance, as measured by course and qualification completion rates, and student progression.
“But Mr Joyce needs to be careful he doesn’t incentivise the wrong behaviour by saying he will reward higher pass rates with more funding,” says Ryan. “Shifting money around and getting institutions, staff members, or students to compete between themselves will not solve the real problem – that universities, polytechnics, and wananga need to be better funded if they are to successfully compete with their international equivalents and deliver the educational outcomes this country needs.”
“If it is sustainable quality that Mr Joyce wants, then the best way to do that is to invest in recruiting and retaining the best staff to work in New Zealand tertiary institutions. That means better salaries and competitive working conditions”, said Dr Ryan.
“And while the minister may be justified in calling for better monitoring of student loans, he also needs to ensure that tertiary institutions provide adequate services to support students – especially those from less privileged backgrounds – through tough times so that they are sufficiently equipped to deal with their studies.”