National’s tertiary education policy visionless

Press Release – NZ Union of Students’ Associations

Today’s release of the National Party’s tertiary education policy reveals no bold initiatives to improve education and largely consists of small tweaks that don’t address the real issues that matter for students. Painful funding cuts are not ruled … National’s tertiary education policy visionless

Today’s release of the National Party’s tertiary education policy reveals no bold initiatives to improve education and largely consists of small tweaks that don’t address the real issues that matter for students. Painful funding cuts are not ruled out

“This afternoon’s announcement contains no vision and no real commitment to ensure New Zealand has a world-class tertiary education system. National has simply repackaged many of its existing and previously announced policies with very little new policy included at all,” says NZUSA Co-President David Do.

“Disappointingly, there is no commitment to maintain funding at current levels, and no real commitment to giving all New Zealanders opportunities to improves their lives through learning,” added Do.

The policy focused largely on reducing the student loan costs to Government.

“National’s policy does not address the real issues that matter to students, with the levels of student debt and lack of basic income support while studying not featuring at all. The sector needs ongoing investment and a focus on lifting the quality of our learning and teaching. Students must also have a strong independent voice. These were not covered by National’s policy,” says NZUSA Co-President Max Hardy.

“Information about employment outcomes will be welcomed by prospective students, but is a relatively small step in improving the choices of students and does little to lift the quality of our qualifications”, says Hardy.

“While retaining interest-free student loans is welcome, nothing in this policy addresses the drivers of debt – lack of access to allowances, and rising fees. Equally, there is no commitment to lift funding levels, when we’re already falling behind the rest of the world and our universities slide in world rankings,” said Hardy.

“Added to this, National stands by its support for the discredited ACT Party’s legislation to end universal membership of students’ associations, despite the impending threat this poses to student services and representation,” says Hardy.

“Squeezing more from the sector has led to negative consequences for students. Over the past few years we’ve seen courses cut, scholarships slashed, departments downsized, and staff sacked. The teaching conditions for staff are the learning conditions for students, and more pressure on staff is leading to quality suffering. Students would have expected these issues to be addressed by a party that seeks to govern,” concluded Do.

ENDS

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