Steven Joyce’s suggestion this afternoon that tertiary funding should be linked to employment outcomes rather than academic outcomes is a dangerous path to propose. That is the view of TEU national president Dr Tom Ryan.
Mr Joyce, the minister of tertiary education, told an audience at Victoria University of Wellington this afternoon that he would like to see tertiary education funding linked to employment outcomes. He suggested this would send a strong signal to students about which qualifications and which institutions offer the best career prospects.
“The risk of this approach is that institutions which can get students to take cheap quick qualifications with good short-term employment prospects are likely to be much better rewarded,” said Dr Ryan. “Meanwhile, those which maintain higher academic standards but are teaching students about issues and subjects that may not have immediate application to students’ employment prospects could suffer.”
“Providing job skills is important, but it is just one aspect of a broader tertiary education. It would be a shame to see institutions being encouraged by government to water down their commitment to teaching and research programmes that explore social and cultural and other dimensions that can not show immediate economic or employment outcomes.”
“The short-term whims of employers cannot be the key driver for the quality and direction of education that our young people receive,” said Dr Ryan.