Tertiary education is underfunded – TEC.

Te Hautū Kahurangi | Tertiary Education Union says Te Amorangi Mātauranga Matua | The Tertiary Education Commission’s recently released November 2023 ‘Briefing for the Incoming Minister for Tertiary Education and Skills’ makes for depressing reading, but it is useful to note the funder’s acknowledgements throughout the document that the sector it funds is poorly funded.

The briefing advises the Minister that she “will need to consider funding and financing options for the tertiary sector as a matter of priority.” It goes on to reference the commitment to a funding review, made by the previous minister as a result of the TEU’s successful campaign to save jobs in the university sector last year:

“The Ministry of Education (MoE) has scoped options for a potential review of higher education funding and financing. This would be a vehicle to address funding pressures and other objectives by considering the quantum of funding, policy settings, and/or accountability structures.”

TEU’s own Briefing to the Incoming Minister, released when the new government was sworn in, noted that “Public expenditure on tertiary education in our country has not kept pace with other OECD countries: in 2019, public spending per EFTS at the tertiary level in Aotearoa New Zealand was 23.5 percent lower than the OECD average. Additionally, despite an encouraging increase to public spending on education as a whole between 2015-2019, expenditure on tertiary education in Aotearoa New Zealand increased by just 1.9 percent, again lagging far behind the OECD average of 3.6 percent.”

The TEU BIM described the commitment to a funding review as “non-negotiable if we are to champion a flourishing, sustainable tertiary education sector for the benefit of the entire economy and society.”

“Decades of underfunding and the associated impacts outlined above have left TEU members feeling

increasingly constrained in their capacities to deliver high-quality tertiary education. At the core of these problems is an inadequate funding model. If we are to ensure the core objectives of higher

education are realised, it is clear that the system cannot continue as it currently stands – what we need is short-term stabilisation of the sector and long-term transformation of the funding system.”