The ratio of students to academic staff members fell slightly last year but still remains nearly four students per academic higher than in was in 2000.
The Ministry of Education’s latest human resource data shows that the ratio of full-time equivalent students to full-time equivalent academics fell slightly between 2013 and 2014 from 19.0 to 18.9. Both ratios are significantly higher than the year 2000 ratio of 16 students to each academic.
TEU president Sandra Grey says that there are specific points to note for universities, polytechnics and wānanga.
“The universities’ ratio is skewed. The data shows that there has been an overall growth in the number of academics recently, but it also shows that all that growth has been in research-only academics who do not teach, and thus do nothing to lower class sizes.”
Polytechnics have had a bigger increase than universities in student:staff ratios since the turn of the century. The ratio in polytechnics used to be 14.2. It is now 17.5 students for each academic. In recent years, that is the result of a falling number of academics – 170 fewer in 2014 than there were in 2012.
Wānanga have the highest student:staff ratio. It is currently 28.4 but it has been as high as 47.5.
“Unfortunately, part of the wānanga model of education is paying fewer people lower wages than they would receive in equivalent public education jobs. That’s not good for Māori, nor for the many students of other ethnicities who study at wānanga.”
The total number of full-time equivalent academic staff has remained relatively static at public tertiary institutions between 2012 and 2014 (rising at wānanga and among research-only staff at universities, while falling at polytechnics), but the number of general staff fell by about 200 people. General staff numbers are down across all three types of institutions.