New Zealand Labour Party

Widespread caution on tertiary league tables justified

Steven Joyce's proposal to implement league tables for tertiary institutions takes a backward looking, short term view that could do more harm than good, Labour’s Tertiary Education spokesperson David Cunliffe says. 

“The proposal, to publish data matched to Statistics and IRD showing graduate employment and salaries by subject and institution, has been widely panned by the sector.

"While finding your first job is important, tertiary education is about learning for life and providing critical skills that will last a whole career. 

"This is exactly what Labour's Future of Work Commission is looking at. Graduates will change jobs more frequently and entire classes of jobs are disappearing.  

“The Council of Economic Development of Australia estimates that 40% of current jobs will be at risk from technology change over the next 15 years and the Oxford Martin School estimates 47%. 

"Steven Joyce's superficial approach is likely to send the wrong signals to students.  Short term, historical data is insufficient to inform long term decisions at times of dynamic change. 

"Rather than stampede students into accounting and law we actually need are more scientists, programmers and critical thinkers capable of leadership roles across diverse fields of endeavour. 

"When AgResearch has just cut 90 science jobs due to lack of funding, league tables won't encourage the best students into science careers. 

"Tertiary institutions are having to ramp up international student numbers just to make ends meet after yet another year of real tertiary funding cuts. 

"Worse, Steven Joyce seems to think the whole reason tertiary education exists is reduced to providing ‘inputs to industry’.  

"Labour is passionate about growing good jobs, but we will not reduce young New Zealanders to 'widgets' or automatons driven by short term ‘market signals’, “ David Cunliffe says.