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October 5, 2009 | by  | in News | [ssba]

Government releases tertiary education strat…look, you’re asleep already.

The government has released its 2010–2015 tertiary education strategy that includes possible changes to the way fees and student allowances are managed.

The 15-page document details New Zealand’s current tertiary education situation, and highlights the government’s commitment to seeing more students enter tertiary education.
However, questions have been raised over an apparent need to find alternative sources of revenue.

“[The] government is committed to maintaining reasonable fees for students, but will explore ways of giving providers some additional flexibility to raise revenue,” the report said.

The report drew criticism from the NZUSA, who were concerned the government’s desire for flexibility would lead to further fee increases.

“Students faced massive fee increases in the 1990s when there was similar ‘flexibility’ on the issue of fees, as outlined in this new Tertiary Education Strategy.

“These significant increases, some up to 30 percent in one year, greatly increased the level of student debt that students and graduates now collectively owe,” said Sophia Blair, Co-President of the NZUSA.

VUWSA President Jasmine Freemantle noted that the release of the draft strategy coincided with Minister of Tertiary Education Anne Tolley cancelling her scheduled address to Victoria students.

“We are disappointed that students will no longer have the opportunity to question Anne Tolley about her Strategy and any intentions to alter the current fee maxima policy.  

“The strategy is particularly concerning given the University Council’s recent decision to increase student tuition fees and hike the student services levy by 94%,” she said.

Regardless of the negative response, the Minister emphasised what she called the government’s commitment to the tertiary education sector.

“We need the tertiary system to deliver for our young people, to improve education outcomes and achievement and to build a skilled and innovative workforce.

“The draft strategy sets out the direction the Government wants tertiary education to take in the next five years. With a growth in demand we need to ensure the best return on the public’s investment,” Tolley said.

Mrs Tolley also called for submissions to be made on the draft strategy.

The current funding agreements that tertiary organisations have with the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) expire at the end of next year. The new strategy will guide the TEC’s decisions about what tertiary education programmes are to fund between 2011 and 2014.

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