Oct 15, 2008

Dominion Post Editorial On Student Allowances

We noted yesterday that the University Vice-Chancellors had been quick to react on the latest Government bribe to students. We were pleased also to see business support for the Vice-Chancellors' positions. But today's hard hitting Dominion Post Editorial was more pleasing still. We quote selectively

It was almost inevitable that Labour would come up with another student bribe before the election, The Dominion Post says.

those who stand to benefit financially from the proposal should do what the Government has not done - ask themselves whether this is the best use to which increased funding for the tertiary education sector can be put.
According to Victoria University Vice-Chancellor Pat Walsh, New Zealand universities are now $230 million a year worse off in real terms than they were in the early 1990s. That's $230 million they do not have to attract and retain high-quality staff, fund research and maintain and improve facilities.
Professor Walsh and his counterparts around the country are careful to talk only about future risks to the quality of education when they address funding issues. "If the pendulum between quality and affordability swings too far toward affordability, students will be able to afford to come to university but the quality of the education they receive will be compromised," he wrote in The Dominion Post last month. But those operating within the sector make no secret of the fact that the quality of education on offer at our universities has already been significantly eroded by the economies forced on universities by successive governments.
Little wonder Professor Walsh reported that Melbourne University, which has twice the income per student of any New Zealand university, is now attracting some of this country's brightest students.

The greatest guarantee of a good income in life is a good education. Students and their parents should consider whether their priority is to emerge from university with a minimum of debt or with a degree that is internationally respected.
The Warehouse is a great place to shop for a bargain, but it isn't the place most of us would choose to shop for an education.
Not for the first time the Government has allowed short-term political considerations to outweigh the interests of those it is supposed to serve. The irony is that it is a government stacked with former university academics.

Consider how much better New Zealand would be positioned to deal with the present financial crisis if the politicans who have talked about investing in the future had actually done so rather than using the resources at their disposal to buy votes.