A good start - staff and students welcome funding boost.

Te Hautū Kahurangi | Tertiary Education Union, Te Mana Ākonga and Te Rōpū Ākonga O Whare Wānanga O Aotearoa | New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations congratulates the government for the significant tertiary education funding boost announced in Budget 2023.

Te Pou Ahurei | National Secretary Sandra Grey says “we see this as the first sign of genuine recognition of the significant underfunding that the tertiary education sector has been grappling with for decades.”

“The 5% funding boost announced today should go some way to ensuring students have access to quality education, provided the institutions invest in people. Looking long term – we are ready to talk, as staff and students, to address the historic underfunding that has destabilised provision.”

“With large scale staff cuts already underway at Otago, imminent at Te Pūkenga and Victoria University, and expected elsewhere, now is the time for institutions to re-think plans to cut jobs.”

In last year’s budget, the Student Achievement Component (SAC) funding, which comprises around 75% of income for universities and other providers, was budgeted to increase by 1.2% from January 2022 and 2.75% from January 2023 at a time when inflation was running at 6.9%.

The announcement of a 5% increase from 1 January 2024 comes at a time when inflation remains high at 6.7% after hitting a thirty year high of 7.3% last June.

NZUSA National President Ellen Dixon says “we welcome this budget as a step in the right direction in that it prioritises apprentices, trainee teachers and continues to find pathways for upholding the targeted training and apprenticeship fund and fees free. We acknowledge the receptiveness that the government has shown to student campaigns in areas such as free public transportation, climate, the winter energy payment and research but the effectiveness of the investment remains to be seen.”

Te Mana Ākonga Tumuaki Rosa Hibbert-Schooner says “When we are not investing in supporting our ākonga of today, their education, their wellbeing and the environment around them, we are not actively preparing for building toward a future inclusive of those it will affect most. Hence we request a commitment from government to continue engaging with ākonga on the future of this investment.”

Lichelle Kerei, TEU Te Pou Tuarā, notes that “Although the budget 2023 recognises the increase of $225m to properly fund Māori education and the provision of mātauranga Māori including Te Reo, the government still have a long way to go towards a commitment to reflect a Tiriti-centric budget that will address the massive inequities Māori continue to face in the sector. We acknowledge that the funding will help towards supporting mātauranga Māori but the funding gap between universities and wānanga is not equitable.”

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