University funding

Simon Collins in NZ Herald reports:

Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce told a Herald series on job/skill mismatches, which began yesterday, that he would direct the university to take more engineering and science students if it did not do so voluntarily in response to funding changes.

This year’s Budget lifted funding for engineering by $42 million, or 8.8 per cent, and for science by $17 million (2 per cent), while funding for all other subjects was frozen.

But Auckland vice-chancellor Stuart McCutcheon told the Herald that the increases were paid as a bulk fund and the university did not have to put it all into engineering and science.

Ummm. Do I have this right? The Government gives Auckland University some extra money for engineering and science (because we have skill shortages in those areas) and the university thinks it can just take the money, and spend it on the Arts Faculty???

A Pacific community leader has warned of a “Pasifika uprising” if the Government goes through with a threat to force Auckland University to take more engineering students, which may cause redundancies in other faculties.

Rev Uesifili UNasa, the university’s chaplain and head of Auckland Council’s Pacific Peoples Advisory Panel, said the move threatened Pacific participation in the university, which was concentrated in faculties such as arts and education.

“I’m very disturbed by the threat from minister Joyce. I can see a Pasifika uprising on this threat,” he said.

Wouldn’t the better thing be to encourage more Pacific students into science and egineering?

Another Pacific leader at the university, Dr Airini, head of the School of Critical Studies in Education, said more Pacific students needed to be recruited into engineering and science. “Mr Joyce is right. We do need to see that profile of Pasifika people in engineering. We also need to see that profile in education. It’s not an either/or, it’s a both/and,” she said.

“This is actually about New Zealand’s workforce development. We need to see a Pasifika presence in all of these areas because Pasifika are actually a big part of our younger population that will be essential for driving ahead NZ Inc’s future.”

A much more sensible view.

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