Future Focus tells young to get back into education

Posted By TEU on Mar 25, 2010 |

Tertiary Update, Vol 13 No 10

Social welfare minister Paula Bennett’s proposed new welfare programme, Future Focus, will have implications for the tertiary education sector.

Minister Bennett proposes the removal of negotiation from Job Seeker Agreements and Youth Activity Plans for young people receiving the Independent Youth Benefit (IYB).

Thanks to nznationalparty @ Flickr for the photo

This change will give Work and Income greater flexibility to direct beneficiaries to undertake education, work-related activities, or training where this is appropriate, without requiring the beneficiaries’ agreement. For young people on the IYB, Ms Bennett says, case managers will use this power to focus strongly on education, in line with the government’s current Youth Guarantee policy.

Placing young beneficiaries in tertiary education without their agreement will especially place further pressure on polytechnics and wānanga, which have recently been directed by the minister of education to lift their completion rates and pass rates.

TEU national president Dr Tom Ryan criticised Ms Bennett’s plan.

“Due to the combined effect of ongoing enrolment caps and recent funding cutbacks, we already are seeing thousands of potential students being turned away from the tertiary sector. It doesn’t make sense for more young people to be channelled towards our institutions when it is likely they too will be turned away.”

“Some of them may even be on the benefit because there were no places available when they earlier tried to get into a tertiary programme. The minister’s plan will work only if the student cap is removed and necessary funding is restored to the sector.”

Ms Bennett is also proposing an exemption from part-time work-test obligations for domestic purposes benefit (DBP) sole parents whose youngest child is six or over, and who study full-time at level 4 or above. Additionally, she will introduce a new $500 loan to support DPB sole parents to study at level 4 or above. The basis for this additional loan is that sole parents in study face higher study costs compared to those without childcare responsibilities.

The loan will not be available for those who are still receiving grand-parented Training Incentive Allowance for their course. Nor will the loan be available for postgraduate diplomas, postgraduate certificates, or bachelors with honours, masters and doctorate degrees. The minister argues it is appropriate that people studying for these advanced qualifications fund their own study.

Also in” Tertiary Update this week:

  1. Alternative Economic Strategy gathers union feedback
  2. Joyce to announce 80 new councillors
  3. Ministry and commission prepare to identify pass rates
  4. Tai Poutini cuts jobs as government funding drops

Other news

The value of wages will decline 0.5 percent” in the 12 months through March 2011 as inflation exceeds salary growth, and unemployment remains elevated, according to the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research’s consensus forecast of ten financial and economic agencies.” Wages are expected to grow 1.9 percent” this year, down from 2.2 percent in the previous survey, and lagging behind the expected inflation 2.4 percent for the same period -” BusinessWire

As universities across Britain grapple with the challenge of making financial savings, a row has broken out in the school of arts and humanities at King’s College London, where academics claim the college is targeting staff whose work doesn’t fit a vision for the future that is based on economic, rather than academic, ideals -” The Guardian

British universities should compensate for a future dearth of government funding in the UK by bidding for the billions of dollars Barack Obama has pledged for research, David Lammy has said. The” higher education minister said on 12 March that “the huge financial stimulus for US research that President Obama has announced” could be either a “threat or an opportunity … British universities can lament the fact that we can’t afford a cash injection on that scale. Or they can, as I’ve repeatedly urged, try to get a piece of the action.” -” Financial Times via Times Higher Education Supplement

More than 150,000 scholarships will begin to flow to Australian tertiary students from next month after the government and opposition resolved a deadlock over the treatment of rural students. Education Minister Julia Gillard said that more than 100,000 students would be better off under the changes, by receiving either a larger Youth Allowance or the payment for the first time because of parental income test arrangements -” The Australian

The University and College Union says that the British prime minister has to make good his promise not to allow education to become a victim of the recession. This followed news that forty three colleges face adult learning budget cuts of 25 percent in the next academic year. Around 7,000 jobs are at risk in the further education sector, and 130,000 people risk missing out on a college place -” University and College Union

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

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