Polytechnics financial performance not so bad after all

Posted By TEU on Nov 19, 2009 |

Tertiary Update Vol 12, Number 40

Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics are not in the troubled financial straits that the Minister of Education has suggested, according to data released yesterday by her Ministry.

Data on the revenue and surpluses of tertiary education providers shows that surpluses generated by New Zealand’s twenty ITPs was 2.6 percent of revenue for 2008, compared with 2.7 percent for universities.

The Minister and others in her government have several times claimed that the poor financial performance of polytechnics is the reason for introducing their Education (Polytechnics) Amendment Bill, which legislation reduces community representation on polytechnic councils and increases the power of government appointed councillors.

TEU president Dr Tom Ryan says this shows that there is no valid justification for the bill.

“On average, polytechnics are no more likely to be in a poor financial position than other taxpayer-funded tertiary providers. Their current governance structures have allowed them to perform just as well as universities. Of those individual institutions that had performed poorly, most had improved their financial position in recent years – or at least were doing so until the government’s budget cuts were introduced earlier this year.”

The relatively solid financial performance of the ITP sector also begs major questions about the stance of employers in the currently-stalled ITP MECA bargaining round, Dr Ryan points out.

“What these figures show is that staff in polytechnics have delivered as well as staff anywhere in the tertiary sector in recent years. It seems very unfair, therefore, that the MECA ITPs should now be demanding no or minimal pay increases and the surrender of core conditions for their union employees.”

“No wonder the goodwill that characterised staff-management relations in these institutions is now flying out the window”, said Ryan. “No wonder our members at these sites are engaging in unprecedented levels of industrial action”.

Also in Tertiary Update this week

  1. University of Waikato cuts Te Timatanga Hou
  2. Massey looks to shed scientists
  3. Spies admit they need help to do their job
  4. UNESCO shows NZ Govt is buying education cheaply
  5. Summer research scholarships allocated
  6. Women’s six week freebie accepted by employers
  7. Governance shake-up in NSW

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: http://scr.im/stephenday

Thanks to Sarah Hardman for the photo

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