No money in budget, just shuffling and cuts

Posted By TEU on May 3, 2012 |

TEU Tertiary Update Vol 15 No 14

The prime minister, John Key, and the minister of tertiary education skills and employment, Steven Joyce, this week foreshadowed several tertiary education budget initiatives.

Mr Joyce told Radio New Zealand that he would be shifting funding away from humanities and commerce towards maths, science, engineering and technology.

“We pay a higher subsidy for humanities and commerce than the Australians do, we pay a lower subsidy for science and engineering.”

“That tends to mean that universities are a bit more biased towards those other subjects because we end up paying, probably, a little bit more than they need to encourage those subjects and not enough for the science, technology and engineering subjects,” Mr Joyce said.

His statements follow a Tertiary Education Commission edict to tertiary institutions to increase enrolments next year in science, technology, engineering and maths and, if necessary, to cut other courses to do that.

Meanwhile Mr Key told business leaders it would be another zero budget, and, to help achieve that, people with student loans, who currently pay back 10 cents for each dollar they earn, will have to pay them back faster.  Then Mr Joyce said that the government would cut allowance costs by ensuring allowances are targeted at those in the early years of study and to those that can least afford it.

NZUSA president Pete Hodkinson said that any cuts to allowances would reduce access, denying New Zealanders an opportunity to improve their lives, and would lead to greater debt.

  Also in Tertiary Update this week :

  1. University tried to sell theatre and film studies to CPIT
  2. Victorian skills training savaged in state budget
  3. Public education workers benefit from union membership
  4. Growing gender pay gap

Other news

A report by Deloitte shows that New Zealand academic salaries are up to twenty percent lower than Australian academic salaries and lower than academic salaries in Canada and the United States. The report reinforces that, given the academic workforce operates within an increasingly competitive global labour market, there will continue to be considerable stress on New Zealand universities in maintaining their academic staff – Universities NZ

The Government’s Budget on 24 May will include a zero “operating allowance” for new spending rather than the already very low $800 million the Prime Minister was confident about as recently as February. A zero operating allowance means that any “new” spending announcements will have to be paid for from cuts or “efficiencies” elsewhere. “New” spending can include spending on existing services to cater for population growth and aging. “Efficiencies” are often just cuts, but we may not know what the cuts are until months later – CTU Economist Dr Bill Rosenberg

A Colmar Brunton survey of 220 students found that 22 percent expect to be earning more than $100,000 a year by the time they are 30. Three-quarters expect to earn at least $60,000 by that time. However, the latest figures from Statistics New Zealand show the average wage for those with a bachelor’s degree or higher was $43,000 per year – Radio NZ Checkpoint

When the global financial crisis hit in 2008, it looked at first as if many European universities were going to escape the worst. Four years in, that is no longer the case. With governments facing unyielding international pressure to reduce deficits by curbing public spending, universities in Britain, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Spain, and Portugal are suffering from their most painful cuts in decades – The Chronicle

Quarterly Employment Survey data released by Statistics NZ today shows that that the number of full time equivalent jobs in education and training fell by 3.6 percent over the last year. The data does not show in what sector of education and training these jobs disappeared, but within the tertiary sector, there have been on-going restructuring and redundancies as a response to government budget cuts – TEU national president Dr Sandra Grey

“As teachers, it’s our professional duty to speak out against all kind of bullying behaviour, whether physical, verbal or indirect; whether in the community, the classroom, on computer screens or mobile phones, particularly when different studies show that bullying is on the rise, undermining efforts to enhance quality education”, said Education International General Secretary, Fred van Leeuwen endorsing the ‘Stand 4 Change’ Day against bullying on 4 May.

“The simple facts are staring us in the face. If we want more successful organisations we need to set about ensuring a gender balance in our workplaces and aiming for equal pay. When we set about reducing the gender wage gap, the bottom-line benefits will not be far behind.” – chief executive of the Employers and Manufacturers Association, Kim Campbell

In the early 1900s, Ford Motor ran dozens of tests to discover the optimum work hours for worker productivity.  They discovered that the “sweet spot” is 40 hours a week–and that, while adding another 20 hours provides a minor increase in productivity, that increase only lasts for three to four weeks, and then turns negative – Inc. magazine


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