New Zealand Labour Party

Tertiary education books an indictment on Govt

The Auditor-General has confirmed the National Government is mismanaging the tertiary education sector in a highly critical select committee report released today, Labour’s Associate Education (Tertiary) spokesperson David Cunliffe says.

“The public watchdog was been highly critical of the Tertiary Education Commission at select committee. It says it could not be satisfied TEC’s books were in order and issues a rare highly ‘qualified’ audit opinion.

“The report shows the TEC is not doing its job in overseeing the quality of tertiary education. It is failing to identify the bad performers, or doing anything about them. Worse, it cannot even manage its own books.

“In some cases it is not even sure where taxpayer money is going.

“The report says that 35 tertiary providers have widespread or serious issues with the way they teach and their results. This is 6.2 per cent of providers that are monitored and of those identified, 27 have still not been publicly named.

“So students and their parents are still in the dark about whether their provider is performing properly and providing our young people with the education they are entitled to.

“Labour has highlighted a number of tertiary sector rorts, such as Taratahi Agricultural Training College, Agribusiness Training, Manaakitanga Aotearoa Charitable Trust and Intueri – which is now the subject of a major Serious Fraud Office investigation.

“The TEC has tried to justify the mismanagement with a weak argument about changed accounting rules. This is bureaucratese designed to confuse and dodge the simple fact that the TEC is wasting funding and is not delivering for New Zealanders.

“This report clearly challenges the Tertiary Education Minister’s assurances he’s got his organisation and the sector under control. TEC hasn’t even got its own books under control.

“It is time for Steven Joyce and the TEC to be held accountable for the sake of learners,” David Cunliffe says.