Thousands of extra students are leaving high school with university entrance, but there are not the places or the funding for many of them to pursue tertiary study, says TEU national president Dr Tom Ryan.
Dr Ryan was commenting on the Ministry of Education’s just released Student Loan Scheme Annual Report 2010, which says that, with the introduction of the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) between 2002 and 2004, school achievement has risen significantly. Between 2002 and 2008 there was a 62 percent increase in the proportion of students leaving school with university entrance (up from 27 percent in 2002 to 44 percent in 2008). The report also shows that the number of tertiary students nearly doubled between 1994 and 2009, rising from 252,000 to 469,000. And the proportion of the population aged 15 or over with a tertiary qualification rose from 47 percent in 2003 to 50 percent in 2009. It also notes that people with tertiary qualifications have lower unemployment, higher incomes, and increased overall wellbeing.
Dr Ryan says that, as well as all these new young students coming out of schools, the global recession continues to put pressure on tertiary education numbers with older students choosing to gain new skills or return to study during a period of unemployment or redundancy. Furthermore, a demographic ‘baby boom’ of students is passing out of secondary school into tertiary education. All of these factors mean that demand for places in universities, polytechnics, and wānanga continues to grow.
“People working in tertiary education want to reach out to all potential students wanting qualifications and training”, says Dr Ryan. “We are doing a good job with limited resources and limited space. The more chances the government gives us to educate those students waiting at the door, the more we can continue to help lower unemployment, raise incomes, and increase wellbeing.”