Minister: "Don't run out of money, because I'm not going to give you any"

Posted By TEU on Jun 18, 2009 |

Tertiary Update Volume 12 Number 19

Hon. Bill English, speaking at the ITPNZ conference earlier this week in his capacity as acting education minister, was forthright to the point of blunt when he told institutes of technology and polytechnics that “restraint (was) now permanent” and that there would be no more money.

“Well-run institutions will succeed, regardless of size. Badly-run ones won’t succeed and may end up going out of existence.”

English’s prescription for a well run institute of technology or polytechnic was to get back to basics, and move away from ‘low level’ qualifications that were not helping people into jobs. He also favours greater competition between polytechnics.

Polytechnics that failed would be allowed to collapse or would have their chief executive and/or council fired.

“It’s past the time government can offer continuous support to reinforce failure. You fix it, or we will find someone else who will make the decision that needs to be made,” the minister told the ITPNZ conference.

However, TEU president Tom Ryan says the government is painting a false dichotomy by saying that bad institutions are those that fail financially while good ones are those prosper.

“Polytechnics can only work within the community context they are based in. We should be judging them not just by the profits they generate but by opportunities they create for students and their community. Allowing them to collapse because they cannot spin straw into gold, so to speak, ” seems very harsh,” said Dr Ryan.

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. Get youth into training and save $1 billion
  2. Ill-considered restructuring all too common
  3. Recession drives demand for tertiary education
  4. Quality early childhood centres vital to recruiting staff
  5. British universities submerged into business department
  6. Lincoln-Massey merger

There will not be an edition of Tertiary Update next week as the editor will be researching and important story on a beach somewhere in Savai’i.

TEU Tertiary Update is published weekly on Thursdays and distributed freely to members of the Tertiary Education Union and others. You can subscribe to Tertiary Update by email or feed reader. Back issues are available on the TEU website. Direct inquiries should be made to Stephen Day, email:

Thanks to Dukal @ Flickr for the image

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