While the Government's $857.8 million investment in early
childhood, primary and secondary education over the next four
years has been applauded, an education expert is questioning
whether it is enough.
''Too often, schools are simply treading water rather than
getting on top of funding issues,'' University of Otago
College of Education senior lecturer and master's
co-ordinator Darrell Latham said.
Education Minister Hekia Parata said despite the tight fiscal
environment, the investment in Budget 2014 would take total
spending in the sector to $10.1 billion in 2014-15.
''This is a significant investment in our children and New
Zealand's future, and is part of a comprehensive range of
practical measures in Budget 2014 to help families and
''Raising student achievement continues to be one of the
Government's top priorities and my colleagues have recognised
this by supporting a further substantial boost to funding for
early childhood and school education.''
Ms Parata said work had started on establishing the $359
million Investing in Educational Success programme, which
creates four new career roles to support the education
profession and build quality and consistency of teaching and
leadership across the system.
School operational grants would also be increased $85.3
million over the next four years to maintain the ongoing
viability of state and state-integrated schools, and an extra
$155.7 million would be invested in early childhood education
(ECE), including a $53.6 million increase in subsidy rates to
help the Government meet its target of 98% of children
participating in ECE.
''We are also investing an additional $111.5 million in
operating funding and $172.5 million in capital funding over
the next four years in a range of initiatives to maintain,
improve and expand school property.''
Dr Latham said in a tight fiscal environment, it was pleasing
to see education was receiving a ''gentle nudge'' in funding.
''Raising student achievement in schools is, and will always
be, a priority.
''Of course, the devil is always in the detail, and there
will be disagreement as to how the funding is targeted.
''The spending of $359 million creating new leadership roles
does not have universal support in the educational sector, so
expect further resistance to this proposal.''
Dr Latham said it appeared there was little support for the
initiative and the sector would prefer to see the funding
spent in ''far more effective ways'' to lift pupil success.
The $85.3 million increase in schools' operational funding
would be welcomed and would help schools with increasing
costs, including the costs of non-teaching staff, he said.
''Whether it is enough is the sixty-four-thousand-dollar
''From my reading, it would appear that the funding increase
in this area is only in line with inflation, so schools
really are only in a situation of once again playing
catch-up, rather than being better off with what might appear
to be an increase in operational funding.''
New Zealand Educational Institute president Judith Nowotarski
said the increases in education spending were in line with
inflation but did not keep up with the increasing cost of
delivering the 21st-century education that parents expected.
''This Government is basically telling schools to carry on
driving our children's education on the smell of an oily rag.
''As usual, parental donations and fundraising will be
crucial to keep schools running.''
- $857.8m over the next four years for new education
initiatives, sector support.
- Operational grants to increase $85.3m over the next four
- $172.5m of capital from the Future Investment Fund and
$111.5 million of operating funding over the next four years
in new schools, classrooms and other school property
- An additional $2.5m in 2014-15 to continue to provide
computers in homes and digital literacy training for
- $2.4m over the next four years to expand the Reading
Together programme into more than 140 decile 4 and 5
- $155.7m over four years for early childhood education
- $4.7m over four years for additional teacher aide support
for pupils with high health needs