PBRF becomes corporate welfare programme

Posted By TEU on Mar 15, 2012 |

Tertiary Update Vol 15 No 7

The government’s approach to performance based research funding is a quarter of a billion dollar corporate welfare scheme according to Scoop journalist Gordon Campbell.

Mr Campbell published an article earlier this week,Marketing the Mind: How the tertiary sector in New Zealand is being hi-jacked into the service of commerce, where he explores the financial pressures on the tertiary education system. In it, he notes that the Tertiary Education Strategy 2010-2015 says, “We will ensure that the Performance-Based Research Fund recognises research of direct relevance to the needs of firms and its dissemination to them…”

“University research apparently, is to be funded in part at least on its demonstrated ability to disseminate its research findings to business,” says Campbell. “Given the exceptionally low level of investment in research and development made by the private sector in New Zealand….the aim would appear to be to turn tertiary institutions into the research arms of commerce, as taxpayer funded forms of Corporate Welfare.”

TEU te tumu arataki Cheri Waititi agrees.

“It is not just performance funding for research where the emphasis has shifted too far towards providing what private individual businesses want. The minister is currently trying to pick winners among students, courses, research projects and institutions based on which ones he thinks will best meet the needs of private business.”

“Education is not something where you can pick winners before you start. You have to give all ideas and all students an equal chance to thrive. Otherwise, it is not true education – it is just, as this article notes, corporate welfare,” said Ms Waititi.

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. Economics super-ministry may swallow TEC
  2. Joyce wants to publish graduate income data
  3. Big budget changes for student loan scheme
  4. Iranian lecturer faces execution for receiving email
  5. Phoenix rises from Christchurch Rubble

Other news

Alan Ginsberg wrote that he had seen the best minds of his generation destroyed by madness. We are seeing the best minds in our universities destroyed by increasingly complex form filling – The Conversation

In 1869, Irish physicist John Tyndall posed a basic scientific question: why is the sky blue? In searching for an explanation, Tyndall discovered that light is scattered in the atmosphere by dust and large air molecules in a way that causes the eye to see the colour blue. His discovery of these properties of light eventually led to the later development of a number of important but wholly unanticipated innovations, including lasers and fibre optics – The Ottawa Citizen

Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce said he expected the number of ITOs to fall from 33 down to anywhere between six and 10 within two years –Dominion Post

In the universities of Athens, the city where Plato taught and Cicero studied, campuses are covered in anarchist graffiti, stray dogs run through buildings and students take lessons in Swedish with the aim of emigrating – The Financial Post

A group of international students say they are thousands of dollars out of pocket, and afraid for their safety, after a dispute with a Waikato education facility. Two former Waikato Institute of Education (WIE) students say they have only found the courage to speak out now because another institute is controlling their visas – Waikato Times

Unions are increasingly concerned that the round of negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), which completed after nine days today in Melbourne, Australia, are heading in dangerous directions. A trade union lobby team at the nine-day negotiation session just concluded in Melbourne has also warned of negative impacts on jobs, incomes and working conditions. The unions have drafted a Labour Chapter to be included in the Agreement –International Trade Union Confederation

One in three workers questioned in a survey say they are required to be available to their employer 24 hours a day. The recruitment company that did the survey of about 400 employees throughout the country says it shows a growing trend for work to spread into private life –Radio New Zealand

TEU members supporting stevedores at the Port of Auckland last weekend

TEU members supporting stevedores at the Port of Auckland last weekend

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