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Labour's Political Patronage Plans For Tertiary Education

Posted on 05 Apr 2006

Labour's "future directions" for tertiary education funding, released today, will undermine the independence of universities, decrease competition and remove choice from students, says ACT MP Heather Roy.

"Labour's proposed changes, where tertiary funding would no longer be based on enrolment, would reduce choice for students and decrease quality", Mrs Roy said.

"If carried through, these ideas would give Government iron-fisted control over which institutions and courses receive funding.  Instead of choosing where to study, students will have to attend the Labour Party's favoured institutions.

"Making tertiary institutions play up to politicians for funding undermines their ability to be the critic and conscience of society.  Political patronage has no place in tertiary education.

"There is no guarantee that politicians won't financially penalise courses which deviate from their ideology, or that political compliance won't be considered when deciding which institutions or courses are funded.

"The quality of education providers won't be improved by politicians seizing more financial control.  Universities, polytechnics and private training providers must be allowed to continue focusing on academic, rather than political, goals.

"Students and their parents know better than politicians which degrees the job market demands, and choices about what and where to study should be left to them", Mrs Roy said.