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National Party Set To Undermine Public Tertiary Education

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
AUS.jpg
AUS.jpg

3 NOVEMBER 2008 - The National party appears intent on undermining the provision of public tertiary education, with an announcement today that, if elected to government, it will provide at least $6 million in capital funding to a private South Auckland education centre to establish a trades' academy. According to National party leader John Key, it will be one of at least five trades' academies that National will establish in the next three years.

Today's announcement follows earlier suggestions by the National party's tertiary-education spokesperson, Dr Paul Hutchison, that public and private tertiary-education providers should compete for funding to run the same or similar courses.

Both the Association of University Staff (AUS) and Association of Staff in Tertiary Education (ASTE) have slammed today's announcement, saying that it shows that the National party is on an ideological course to return the tertiary-education sector to a free-for-all competitive environment.

AUS acting general secretary, Nanette Cormack, says that, while it is important that high-quality trades' training is provided, it needs to be delivered as part of a wider package of tertiary education, delivered through the many public tertiary-education institutes that already exist throughout the country.

ASTE national secretary, Sharn Riggs, said that considerable time and effort had been spent over the last few years developing a tertiary-education strategy that is responsive to the economic and social goals and needs of the country, and to ensure that the component parts of the sector complement rather than unnecessarily compete against each other. "Mr Key clearly wants to return to the uncontrolled and deregulated practices of the past and, as such, illustrates that the National party cares more about its private-sector friends than in the quality and relevance of tertiary education," she said.

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