By: Alecia Rousseau
TEU president Dr Sandra Grey led a talk at the Palmerston North City Library on Monday night, discussing the implications of the proposed Education Amendment Bill.
She was joined by UCOL nursing lecturer Tina Smith and Massey University’s Professor John O’Neil.
Dr Grey said private institutions were there only to make a profit, and would not provide the same quality education as public tertiary providers.
“If they expand this funding, there’s going to be a loss of staff and courses in these public places. The private companies are there to make money and they don’t provide quality education to students.”
She said the Government had already privatised funding, and the last round saw a public distance provider lose about 17 per cent of funding to private providers.
“These places then have to fire staff, close courses, move courses … and the people in those regions miss out. The tertiary sector is already struggling, we are underfunded by $1 billion. We can’t afford more cuts.”
Smith said she had already seen the effects of contestable funding in her own institution.
“About five years ago the Government brought this in for level 1 and 2 programmes … these no longer run here. UCOL is a classic example of what will happen if contestable funding is expanded.
“People in this region have lost a place they can go that would enable them to go and succeed. We need grandparents, parents and students to stand up and fight this.”
Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Paul Goldsmith said the bill was intended to increase the flexibility of funding, strengthen compliance and ensure consistency across public and private education providers.
“This bill will allow for more flexibility in the tertiary funding framework and improve accountability in return. The Government has already improved the monitoring of tertiary organisations in response to recent investigations, and the proposals in this bill will allow for better information collection and oversight of providers.”
The Government is taking submissions on the bill until June 23. A copy of the bill can be found at parliament.nz.
Source: Manawatu Guardian