Budget 2015 preview

Posted By TEU on May 14, 2015 |

Tertiary Update Vol 18 No 14

The biggest risk in next week’s budget is more competitive tendering for public education funds says TEU industrial and professional vice-president, Phil Edwards.

For TEU, there are three core issues that the budget needs to address.

The first is the continuing overall cuts to funding in tertiary education that the sector has weathered since 2009. Since 2009, the total government spending on tertiary education has fallen from $4.6 billion to $4.2 billion.  If funding had kept pace with inflation that $4.6 billion would now be $5.1 billion. Tertiary education faces a shortfall of nearly $1 billion when that inflation adjustment is taken into account.

The second is the more specific attacks on regional provision of education. The institutions that have faced the brunt of government funding cuts are regional polytechnics. Since Steven Joyce became tertiary education minister in 2010 the government has cut funding to 10 regional polytechnics by an average of one dollar in every five.

And the third is the shift of funding away from public tertiary institutions to for-profit providers. At the same time as polytechnics adjusted to huge funding cuts the money available to private ‘for-profit’ companies grew. Between 2012 and 2014 polytechnics lost $20 million of public funding while private training establishments gained $22 million of public funding. This has included public subsidies targeted at for-profit companies as well as putting $30 million of level 1 and 2 course funding up for tender.

Edwards says the tale Australia’s Pat Forward tells about what has happened to that country’s vocational education system after years of underfunding and attacks on public providers is a warning that the last six budgets have headed in the wrong direction.

“This time finance minister Bill English must stand up for public education”, says Edwards.

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. Universities want CRI research for their count
  2. Little’s budget speech misunderstands education
  3. Regional polytechnics can help fix ‘mixed fortunes’
  4. 6,000 Australian students lose qualifications in rort
  5. Pink Shirt Day next week
  6. Women invoice Treasury for $300 million

Other news

Lincoln University plans to start protecting students from annual fee increases next year. The University said from next year, the tuition charge that students pay in their first year will be the annual fee for the duration of their studies – Radio NZ

Sharan Burrow is the global head of the union movement. My boss’s boss’s boss you could say! But put simply she is the Ban Ki-moon of workers of the world, and right now she is in New Zealand to talk about the situation in Qatar in the run up to our nation hosting the Under 20 World Cup – Enzo Giordani

Four more Centres of Research Excellence – the Bio-Protection Research Centre (Lincoln University), The Riddet Institute (Massey University), QuakeCore: Centre for Earthquake Resilience (University of Canterbury) and Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga (The University of Auckland) – have been selected by the Tertiary Education Commission at the end of the second round of CoREs funding – Steven Joyce

“You couldn’t kill me with an axe. I’m going to keep coming back” said Australian Education Minister Christopher Pyne in March. And given this week’s Australian budget measures supporting the twice-defeated university fee deregulation agenda persist, it seems this is the case – The Conversation



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