Ominous signs for 2010 budget

Posted By TEU on May 20, 2010 |

Tertiary Update, Vol 13 No 18

Prime Minister John Key is continuing to warn the New Zealanders not to expect any new investment in their tertiary education system from this afternoon’s budget. He told the Sunday Star Times that the government already spends “an unusually high amount on tertiary education by OECD standards as a percentage of GDP”.

The prime minister also warned Victoria University vice chancellor Pat Walsh that:

“Our universities already receive the lion’s share of direct government funding in terms of tertiary education.”

Mr Key intimated that some money could be shifted within the sector, creating winners and losers.

“The government’s focus is on improving the quality of expenditure and getting more bang for the taxpayers’ buck. As part of the upcoming Budget, we will move money away from areas of poor value spending.”

TEU national president Dr Tom Ryan says that the budget needs to view tertiary education as a strategic investment, not an unwanted cost.

“Tertiary education has the capacity, if well funded, to move people into new jobs and to move New Zealand’s economy in newly sustainable directions. We can choose, like other strong economies and communities, to learn our way out of troubles that were not our own making. But we need to overcome the current underfunding.”

However, he warns that the worst effects of the cuts of the 2009 budget are still yet to be felt, As well as the graduated clawbacks announced last year on numerous small budget lines, there are several big items that are yet to impact fully..

“For instance, the adult education cuts that hit secondary schools so hard last year will be mirrored with ACE cuts in the tertiary sector this year,” said Dr Ryan. “Likewise, the Tertiary Education Student Achievement Component funding reduces by $27 million this coming financial year, to be followed by $46 million reductions in each of the following two years. The cuts in Tripartite salary funding in universities also will start to kick in from mid-year, to a total of $55 million by 2013. ”

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. Facilitation calls for no change in working conditions
  2. Canterbury’s CPIT increases staff student ratio
  3. MIT wants staff to work evenings and weekends
  4. Budget needs to address pay rates

Other news

Two University of Otago general staff departments are the latest to come under scrutiny as the institution looks to streamline operations and cut costs. A university spokeswoman confirmed yesterday that reviews were under way for Uniprint and the human resources and payroll service. Human resources and payroll has about 70 staff, while Uniprint, which provides in-house printing and copying services, has about 26 – Otago Daily Times

New Zealand universities have launched a programme to further enhance their working relationships with the business sector by establishing a new scheme dedicated to creating stronger university-business partnerships. The project will allow businesses better access to the wealth of research and consultancy services provided by universities around the country. – Voxy

The private provider New Zealand Tertiary College was forced by TEC to close its enrolments for early childhood education qualifications in April this year. This move sent shockwaves through the early childhood sector, where employers are already struggling to meet the government-mandated qualified early childhood education teacher percentages – New Zealand Tertiary College

New Zealand’s first Tertiary High School, the School of Secondary-Tertiary Studies, is to be officially opened tomorrow. The school, which is a collaboration between MIT and a consortium of Counties Manukau secondary schools, aims to provide a seamless pathway into tertiary education from Year 11 – Manukau Institute of Technology

A Ministry of Education study into the economic and social benefits of diplomas and certificates has found that Level 1 to 3 tertiary certificates are of most benefit to people with no or low school qualifications and are best seen as a pathway to higher levels of study, but that Level 4 certificates have better economic outcomes than school qualifications, particularly for men – Ministry of Education

A study by the Ministry of Education into the academic performance of first year bachelor students at universities has found that high performing school students from sole-Pasifika families and high performing school students from ethnic groups other than European showed lower levels of university performance than other higher-achieving school students – Ministry of Education

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger unveiled his latest proposed budget on Friday and it doesn’t propose cuts (it actually includes restoration of funds) for the state’s three higher education systems. The governor’s proposals may reflect a growing consensus in the state that cuts to higher education have been debilitating. However, the governor’s budget plan also includes such measures as the complete elimination of the state’s major welfare program and of the main program to provide state subsidised child care – Inside Higher Ed

Lecturers at the University of Oxford will have to compete for “merit payments” if a new career-progression scheme is adopted. Under the proposals – the fruit of five years of consultations – the title of reader would also be phased out and internal promotions to professorships would cease – Times Higher Education Supplement

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:

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