TEU launched its blueprint for repairing the damage to public tertiary education today, saying the government needs to restore $1billion of funding cuts.
Te Kaupapa Whaioranga – the Blueprint for Tertiary Education outlines a series of steps New Zealand needs to take to rebuild its public universities, polytechnics and wānanga:
- Spending public, taxpayer funding on public education not private companies,
- Raising the parental threshold for student allowances to $74,000,
- Ensuring at least one third of seats on tertiary education councils are held by democratically elected students, staff and community members,
- Setting a maximum student: staff ratio for the sector of 19:1,
- Reducing the maximum allowable student fee rise to 2 percent,
- Establishing quarterly meetings between the Minister of Education and democratically elected leaders of the sector to discuss strategic direction and funding of tertiary education.
In the longer term, Te Kaupapa Whaioranga calls on the government to increase student allowances to 60 percent of the average wage and to set the student: staff ratio at 15:1.
One of the report’s authors, Dr Sandra Grey, says the current tertiary education system drives students to trade life-long debt, part-time work and contracted learning time for credentials and unknown jobs.
“Successive New Zealand governments have narrowed the purpose of New Zealand’s tertiary education system, underfunded the sector and fundamentally changed the way the public, students, staff, and institutional managers view tertiary education. We have moved from the belief that education is a public right accompanied by public responsibilities to the view that it is primarily a private good.”