Aotearoa education spending out of step.

Aotearoa’s three biggest education unions have joined forces to put education funding on the political agenda in the runup to this year’s general election.

The Tertiary Education Union, NZEI Te Riu Roa and the Post Primary Teachers’ Association have released a report, prepared by BERL, that shows Aotearoa is significantly underinvesting in education.

Education funding per student in New Zealand is 27.8% lower than Canada, 22.4% lower than Australia, 26.4% lower than the UK and 24.9% lower than the OECD average.

Chris Abercrombie, Te Wehengarua | Post Primary Teachers' Association acting president says “the BERL report released by TEU today shows that the level of public funding of education in Aotearoa New Zealand is woeful, compared with other countries in the OECD.”

“All New Zealanders deserve a quality, publicly funded education from pre-school through to tertiary. An investment in education at all levels would give more people more skills, better incomes, more employment opportunities, more equality, more fulfilling lives and fewer social problems. It is a win win which this country cannot afford not to do.”

NZEI Te Riu Roa president Mark Potter said that better investment in education in schooling and early childhood would be a popular and well supported move.

“Parents and whānau would strongly welcome smaller class sizes in schools and lower ratios in early childhood centres so that teachers have more time with tamariki, and much better access to learning support specialists to make sure no one misses out on the support they need. So let’s get on and do it,” he said.

Te Hautū Kahurangi | Tertiary Education Union Tumu Whakarae | National President Dr Julie Douglas says “BERL’s research shows this is not a failing of any one government in isolation – this is a long-term collective failure by us as a country to value education.”

“While we would have liked the current government to do more the right’s track record is worse and, if elected, National’s tax plan will result in even less money for education. If voters want a world class education system we must demand better from all the political parties.”

The TEU is campaigning for its 12,000 members to vote for tertiary education at the election.

Dr Douglas says “Aotearoa needs increases to education funding that will bring our expenditure per EFTS up to the OECD average over the next six years. We also need a mandated staff voice in decisions that affect the future of the tertiary sector and funding increases that are fairly allocated to staff costs.”

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