Thursday, July 21, 2005

Tertiary Tango

The recent changes announced to tertiary education funding are a good move.

By shifting funding from the low quality bums on seats courses that have proliferated in the tertiary sector over the past ten years, to high quality practical qualifications, the government has taken a decisive step away from the failed competitive model of the 1990s towards creating a system that is truly geared towards the needs of students and the community.

Given the systemically low funding that was doled out during the 1990s, and the imposition of a market model, it is in some respects difficult to blame many tertiary institutions for focussing on quantity over quality. For a number, that was the only way to survive the funding squeeze.

The government has been wanting to address this issue for a long time and has taken a number of steps such as placing a cap on the number of EFTS enrolments that institutions may take, reducing funding for "free" courses, and most significantly by setting up the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) to oversee the sector and ensure that funding is producing quality outcomes. It would have to be said that the recent changes are something of a recognition that TEC has not necessarily had the administrative teeth to really re-shape the sector along the lines that the government envisages.

Anyway, these changes are positive and should over time really encourage the development of a sector that is responsive to sommunity and industry needs. Rather than punish institutions as Bill English seems to be suggesting, the government is putting real investment in place to ensure that institutions focus on relevant, high quality (more expensive) courses as opposed to the infamous twilght golf example. In particular I was pleased to see that the new fund will be used to encourage an expansion of the Modern Apprenticeship scheme.

These are complex policy issues, and there is still a long way to go, but this in my view is good progress.

* I guess I should note by way of disclaimer that I am a Council member of Manukau Institute of Technology.

14 comments:

spooks said...

What a load of claptrap.

You might as well have said, 1990s bad, 2000s good, them bad, us good. Michael, get over it already, that was last century, they were completely different times, totally irrelevant to today's issues. And coming from someone who was a pre-teen at the time, you just don't come over as genuine. Your blog, but can you please move on from regurgitating your irrelevant and distorted high school memories of last century. Surely you hear the groans at the public meetings, every time you refer back to the 1990s -- why then do you persist with it. Or is it like everything else, you're just not interested in what you hear from real people.

Now, what were you actually talking about again. Oh yes, the Billion dollar 2000-2006 Labour-funded Wananga Labour stuff-up wasn't it?

Christ you are falling into the leftie spin routine seamlessly. You will be a good Labour MP one day. But will you be able to live with yourself.

Cheezy said...

Yeah Michael... of what possible relevance can the performance of the National Party the last time they were in government be, in forecasting how they will perform if they're elected this year? (i'd better stop here, cos my sarcasm is starting to literally drip off the tongue onto my keyboard...)

Anonymous said...

Now come on, Cheezy, Don Brash shows absolutely no signs of allegiance to the thinking of Ruth Ruth Richardson or any other National figure of the 1990's....he's a centrist pussy-cat kind of figure.
I do believe he came in to Parliament with a view to twiddling his thumbs in Government and throwing in the odd benevolent tax cut giving those on $40 000 about three dollars a week and those on $100 000 a whole, whole lot more....
...leaving workers with absolutely no protection in the labour market, wholesale privatisation and the best health and education priced out of the reach of low to middle income earners - not his style AT ALL....

spooks said...

... ... and, and, (as Nony likes to tell it), the big bad wolf will huff, and puff, and blowwww your house down. Nony apparently likes her fairytales. In fact, as we have just seen, she is quite good at writing them ... ... ....

Cheezy said...

Now you're being sarcastic, Spooks. Come on girl, I'll lay off the irony if you will...

michael wood said...

Spooks, this is pretty lame really.

I've given my view on the recent changes, and attempted to explain it.

Your response barely rises to the level of petulance. If I'm such a naive moron then please take the opportunity to explain what you actually think about this issue.

spooks said...

Michael, the public are sick to death of your 1990s bad, 1990s bad, 1990s bad stuck record. It is a "pretty lame really" argument. It is a Clayton's argument. It is a petulant argument. It attempts to score a point by actually saying nothing. And you and I have been at the same meetings, and we have heard the same public groans. But your Labour arrogance (not yours personally, but you have adopted the party arrogance) is that the groans are not relevant to Labour, but an ignorant comment. Labour doesn't listen any more. Labour knows best. Those groans come from real people in your audience, and when you repeat your "blame them, 1990s" line, you insult those people. Because you repeatedly fail to listen to them. 2005 Labour is not a listening Labour. You have decided you know better than we do. Got news for you. Voters don't like arrogant pollies.

Your party has been there for six years. This is the year 2005. What happened last century, was correct for the circumstances of last century. Many things that you opposed then, Labour has not changed since. On a scale of 1 to 10, the effort required to say "1990s bad" is about 1. On the same scale, the effort to say why you are wrong is 9. Which is precisely why you do it. And in your ignirance, you interpet this as a points score. Precisely why you have challenged me to do it here.

So the groan has become the shorthand reply to your effort 1, "1990s bad". The groan says "misrepresentation" with effort 1. But Labour ignore it and insult the groaner. And lose their vote. For not listening. Becasue you know better than us. You think.

The changes you have discussed in this thread, are not as you suggest in response to National actions. These changes are a direct response to the public discontent with the money squandered on hip-hop tours and golf lessons sing-along lessons and the Wananga (and many others). You are entitled to spin it, but when the spin insults the intelligence, don't expect it to go unchallenged.

michael wood said...

Ummm, so you agree with the changes then?

spooks said...

Yes, I believe I do.

It's just the lying that you get yourself dragged into, to justify it. Michael, what is the point of going into politics if it requires lying and dishonesty. When does this dishonest cycle ever get stopped, if not with the 24-year-old candidates. As they say in the child abuse commercials -- Break the Cycle.

spooks said...

Michael, thanks for the discussion on the lazy deceitful and irrelevant use of the term "1990s" as a weapon of mass destruction. I do hope you will learn from it and listen to the groans in future.

But a second point comes out of your comments here. You refer to the "market model" with venom. I was just wondering, Michael, why you Labour lot hate us business people who live by the market model. Michael, where you are sitting as you read this, can you see a copy of the Auckland Yellow Pages? Look at it for a moment please, and think about how many entries there are in it, and how many people you are expressing your contempt for by the way you inject venom into the term "market model". Because that Yellow Pages would not exist if not for the "market model"

Why is it that the last century communist countries are now moving towards the market model? Because they finally came to realise that the alternatives do not work. And when they don't work, they don't work big-time. And millions upon millions have suffered in the process. Why are you Labour lot rowing against the international tide? What haven't you learnt from others' experience? Why do we have to experience the pain all over again for ourselves? Why can't we learn from the lessons of others?

Well, did you look at those Yellow Pages?

michael wood said...

Spooks this doesn't make any sense. On one hand you criticise institutions for adopting a market approach (ie; screwing down the cost of courses in a frantic scramble to achieve market share through volume), and now you say that this market driven model is what we should be aiming for...

You are also disingenuous in summarising my views. My post was simply pointing out that the market model is an inappropriate one for our tertiary education sector, because of the very problems that we both seem to agree on.

To suggest then that this means I "hate" business people, or am a communist is faceceous. I have no problem with trading businesses operating in a competitive marketplace, and have in fact operated a small business in the past.

spooks said...

Where on earth do I "criticise institutions for adopting a market approach? Please do not put words in my mouth. It really is a pet hate of mine in internet chatting and message boards, because the accuser can so easily make this sort of thing up, and it is impossible to prove a negative. It really is a callous form of debate to put your invented words in another's mouth.

spooks said...

And contrary to what you have said, I think solutions to a lot of problems on the education sector lie in more use of private enterprise. Of course, this is anathema to Labour. God knows why.
Throughout the country, the schools with the best outcomes, with few exceptions, are private schools.

spooks said...

An I did NOT call you a communist or come anywhere near to implying it. Why does everything have to be bullshit and spin round here? If it is all based on bullshit and spin, then what is the point? This is not a game. If it not based on truth, then what is the point?