Cherry picking statistics from the latest OECD education survey doesn’t hide significant cuts in education spending says TEU national president Sandra Grey.
Government ministers are claiming that the OECD’s latest Education at Glance report shows that they are committed to public spending on education.
However, Grey says the reality is that this government is spending $300 million less this year on tertiary education than it did in its first year in office in 2009.
“There have been cuts instead of adjustments for inflation. And there have been cuts instead of adjustments for the extra estimated 4000 funded tertiary education students there are this year compared to 2009.”
“The results have been higher workloads for people working in tertiary education, courses closing and more stress for students who are already under huge financial stress.”
Grey says government ministers Joyce and Parata have browsed through a 500 page OECD report and cherry picked a few statistics to spin their case.
“We could have done the same thing. For instance, we could highlight the report shows that New Zealand spends over US$1000 per student less on tertiary education than the OECD average and US$3000 less per student on tertiary education than Australia.”
“But other New Zealanders need to be wary because comparing education data across countries – especially when taken out of context like this – is comparing apples and oranges. It is meaningless without the background.”
Grey says the government needs to stop congratulating itself and start addressing the significant underfunding of tertiary education, which is harming students and teachers’ well-being.