New Zealand Labour Party

Information important, but raw data not robust

Moves by the Government for tertiary institutes to reveal where graduates end up working and what they earn is a step in the right direction, but comes with fish hooks, Labour’s Tertiary Education spokesperson David Cunliffe says.

From 2017 universities, wānanga and polytechnics will be required to publish information about the employment status and earnings of graduates.

“It is important that students have as much information as possible to help plan their futures.

“However it needs to apply to private providers as well. PTEs must face equivalent oversight requirements as public institutions because they matter to students' learning pathways too.

“We would be wary of the robustness of comparing financial data by institute given the numerous factors that influence graduates' decisions about employment.

“Any competitive ranking may introduce perverse incentives for the institutes.

“Not only that, non-economic educational goals are also valid but are not reflected in this data. In planning their futures students must consider their values, motivations and aptitudes. Learning is for life as well as for money.

“The timing of this latest announcement comes at the same time Steven Joyce is trying to bat away a spate of rorts in the sector.

“It follows hard on the heels of National making it harder for students to complete tertiary study by time limiting student loans and by refusing to get a reality check on the cost of student living and allowances.”