OECD shows NZ’s lagging investment in public education

Posted By TEU on Jun 27, 2013 |

Tertiary Update Vol 16 No 21

The OECD released its annual Education at a Glance indicators this week with a warning that countries around the world, and New Zealand specifically, are investing less public money on tertiary education institutions.

The report shows that, globally, the share of public funding for tertiary institutions has fallen steadily: from 77 percent in 1995, to 76 percent in 2000, to 71 percent in 2005 and then to 68 percent in 2010.

In New Zealand public spending per student (including research and development activities) is US$10,418, which is 23 percent less than the OECD average of US$13,528. The United States, the United Kingdom and Australia all spend above the OECD average on tertiary education. In fact, New Zealand ranks 19th out of 30 measured OECD countries for spending per student.

Tertiary education minister Steven Joyce welcomed the report, saying the findings show New Zealand continues to deliver a world-class education.

TEU national president Lesley Francey says the report confirms what people working in tertiary education already knew – that they are being asked to do more with less.

“The report is a direct rebuke for the minister. It tells him that his actions are putting the world class education he lauds at risk.”

New Zealand’s expenditure per tertiary education student fell 4 percent between 2005 and 2010, whereas expenditure rose 8 percent across the OECD.

New Zealand’s publicly funded proportion of spending on tertiary education, at 66 percent, is lower than the OECD average of 68 percent.

With 17.7 students per teacher, New Zealand’s tertiary student to teaching staff ratio is two students higher than the OECD average of 15.6 students per teacher.

The report notes that New Zealand has high attainment levels in tertiary education with 39 percent of 25-64 year-olds and 46 percent of 25-34 year-olds holding a university degree compared with the OECD average of 32 percent and 39 percent respectively.

But the OECD then goes on to note that high graduation rate of international tertiary students artificially inflates the national estimated graduation rate – when international students are excluded from consideration, graduation rates drop by 8 to 10 percentage points.

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. Pay equity case goes to court
  2. Global higher education test hits trouble
  3. Lost tea breaks a health and safety risk
  4. Industry bargaining the solution to long working hours

Other news

Students from poor backgrounds could have places reserved for them at the University of Auckland in a shake-up of admissions currently targeted according to ethnicity – New Zealand Herald

The tertiary education minister has appointed six people to tertiary education councils; a business investor, a managing director, a PR expert, a former chief executive, a farmer and a lawyer, but no one who works in tertiary education – Steven Joyce

Striking Rockgas workers in Auckland protested outside the office of National MP Jami-Lee Ross against his bill allowing the use of strike-breakers on Tuesday. The bill repeals part of the Employment Relations Act 2000, which prevents an employer using volunteers, contractors or other casual employees during a strike or lockout – Radio NZ

In Australia, Curtin University’s bid to shift some staff into new teaching-only positions is shaping as a key battleground with the union over how universities will go about segmenting their academic work forces – The Australian

“What is not frequently mentioned in the praise of online courses is the completion rate. CS50x Introduction to Computer Science I, Harvard’s largest online course, had an enrollment of 150,349 students. Of those 150,349 students, only 1388 of them completed the course. That is a completion rate of 0.9 percent. If my courses had a completion rate of 0.9 percent, I would have been fired long ago” – The Globe and Mail

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