The news for tertiary education and students was all bad in the budget. I will do a specific post on the impact on students later, but I just wanted to address some of the headline effects of the budget on tertiary ed to start with.
There is about $99 million LESS going into the sector this year than last year. Say what? How is the economy going to get a “step change”, let alone the quantum leap we actually need, without investing in knowledge and skills?
The government will make much of the 1735 extra students they are funding in universities and the 3173 they are funding in polytechs. But these are not new students – they are simply funding the students already there whom the institutions are currently carrying as unfunded students. Steven Joyce says there will be 765 new students at universities. Divide that across 8 universities and you get fewer than 100 new students per university. Take the 455 new polytech students and divide them across the 20 polys – and you get 23 new students per polytech.
This simply won’t cut it. The government wants a step change to occur through science – who grows scientists? Universities and some polytechs, that’s who.
And don’t get me started on the cuts of $3.4 million to Adult and Community Education delivered through high schools. They only had about $3.3 million left last year………