The National Party has released figures showing that the amount of government spending on agencies overseeing the tertiary sector has doubled in the last four years.
The party’s Education spokesman Bill English says spending on tertiary agencies has increased from $64 million in 2000/01 to $149 million in 2004/05. A spokesman for Tertiary Education Minister Michael Cullen says the extra spending has gone towards “improving the capability of government agencies”.
Much of the increased funding in the tertiary sector has been spent on the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) which came into operation in 2003 and has taken over much of the research and monitoring responsibilities that were previously performed by the Ministry of Education.
Cullen’s spokesman says: “All of this obviously takes staff … you can’t have a well performing sector without adequate administration.”
English disagrees and says despite the creation of the TEC, “there’s no evidence of any benefit for anyone and plenty of evidence to the contrary” as public agencies move in “ever-decreasing circles trying to implement impractical strategies.”
Paul Holloway, Acting Group manager of TEC Corporate Services confirms that the TEC receives around $40 million funding each year. Initial setup costs were only around $7 million as assets were transferred from Skill New Zealand and the Ministry of Education. Holloway says that “ultimately, everything we do is about students, their education and their training.”
While not being specific, Cullen’s spokesman believes that the current tertiary system being developed by the government will give all “stake-holders – especially students” a say in the industry.