Education Minister Chris Hipkins must increase tertiary education funding to at least 2.7 per cent of GDP by 2021, according to a report published last week by the Tertiary Education Union.
The report presents the views of hundreds of people working in the sector, from which it makes a series of recommendations for reform of the funding model for tertiary education.
Recommendations include scrapping all competitive funding, allocating funding only to public and community providers, and the provision of stable baseline funding.
The urgency with which the government needs to act to increase funding to the sector was made stark earlier this year when figures were published showing that policies of the last National Government had created a $3.7 billion hole in tertiary education funding.
As a consequence, public tertiary institutions have not been able to keep up as the real costs of running the sector keep increasing. The TEU warned at the time that without action the funding hole will increase to more than $6 billion over the next three years, with severe repercussions for students and their communities.
The $5.5 billion surplus recently announced by Treasury shows the economy is strong and the Government can afford to restore that lost tertiary funding by filling the estimated $661 million annual cost of the hole.
It has been shown that tertiary education underpins every commitment this government has made, before and since the election. The question, therefore, is not whether we can afford it, which we clearly can, but whether we can afford not to do it.
Sandra Grey, national president of the TEU, said: “Additional funding should not come from cutting other important social services, but rather through progressive taxation. New Zealand has to rebuild its tertiary education system by making its tax policy more progressive and lifting the top tax rate on the highest income earners.”
Shortly after publication of the TEU’s report Green Party MP and tertiary education spokesperson Chloe Swarbrick, Victoria University Vice-Chancellor Grant Guilford, Chief Executives of polytechnics, unions and students issued statements backing reform of the funding model for tertiary education.
Some TEU members have also shared their thoughts on some of the key reforms that need to be made.
Also in Tertiary Update this week:
- Union members secure Living Wage win for AUT staff
- Plenty of ways you can protect and enhance academic freedom, PM
- Future of ITPs to be made clearer this year
- Come clean about Victoria University’s future, VC told
- Changes to employment law are a first step
- Steven Joyce to lead review of Aussie VET system
Demand for university counselling services has increased by 25 per cent in two years.
NZQA has a new Board Chair – Murray Strong – and two new board members, Lyn Provost and Jenn Bestwick.
Education Minister Chris Hipkins released a new government 10-year plan for early childhood education, including moving toward a 100 per cent qualified teacher workforce and a better staff:children ratio.
Richard Hamilton-Williams has written an obituary of the Performance-Linked Funding system.