Universities will be forced to cut the quality of
education they provide if the Government does not increase
funding, University of Otago vice-chancellor Prof Harlene Hayne
Prof Hayne yesterday singled out the Government for failing
to properly fund universities, while praising Labour's
tertiary education policy, which included the promise of
Prof Hayne's praise comes after Labour released its tertiary
education policy yesterday, promising to reverse the
abolition of student allowances for postgraduate students and
get rid of proposed changes to university councils.
Labour's Tertiary Education spokeswoman, Maryan Street, also
said tertiary institutions would ''get their share'' of the
$1 billion per year it had promised to set aside to keep up
with ''cost of living increases'' in the public services.
Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce struck back at both
Prof Hayne and Labour yesterday, saying universities had been
well funded during the global financial crisis.
Prof Hayne, as Universities New Zealand acting chairwoman and
as Otago University vice-chancellor, welcomed Labour's
promise of increased funding.
''Over the past decade, university funding has only increased
at about half the rate of inflation, while the cost of
providing an education has increased at nearly double the
rate of inflation.
''The education sector has partially offset this funding gap
by cutting costs and growing international student numbers.
''But all the easy gains have been realised and, without more
funding, the only way to keep balancing the books in future
is going to be by dropping quality,'' she said.
Prof Hayne said Universities New Zealand was also pleased
Labour had committed to not going ahead with proposed changes
to the size and make-up of university councils.
Mr Joyce strongly disputed Prof Hayne's suggestion quality
would drop if the Government did not increase funding.
''I just think that is completely incorrect. We have
increased funding over the last five years to universities by
18.6% ... and actually, they have done very very well,
compared to most other organisations through the global
''Of course I've never yet met a vice-chancellor who doesn't
want more money, but I actually think taxpayers have actually
been very supportive [of universities].
''I think Harlene has just got the old 'give me some money'
He also accused Labour of not costing its tertiary education
policies, adding it would be a case of ''back to the future''
when it came to the student loan ''blow-out''.