New Zealand Universities Tumble Down World Rankings

2 October 2014

The Times Higher Education rankings released today show New Zealand universities are not keeping pace with the rest of the world. The fall in rankings can be attributed to inadequate funding compared to international best practice.

“If New Zealand wants to retain its place on the world stage as a viable destination for export education, this Government needs to make a serious funding commitment,” said New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations President Daniel Haines.

“The methodology for the Times Higher Education rankings measures performance indictors in five key categories: teaching, research, citations, industry income and international outlook. These objective measurements look at hard indicators like student to staff ratio which are heralded as a means of determining quality. All students in New Zealand have a right to high quality education,” said Haines.

The Minister for Tertiary Education Steven Joyce has the goal of doubling international students studying in New Zealand by 2025, to achieve this goal he needs to ensure that our universities remain internationally competitive. “Without good levels of investment we can’t hope to compete with the rest of the world," said Haines.

“Tuition fees paid for by international students are much higher than domestic students. International fees are not subject to the same controls as domestic fees and have increased much more quickly, effectively providing a subsidy for domestic students. As our universities plummet in world rankings New Zealand will become less attractive for international students. By falling in the rankings we risk losing the subsidy provided by international student fees.

“Attracting international students is just a band aid on the real problem of underinvestment. The total appropriation in Vote Tertiary Education announced in the 2014 showed a 0.4% increase, with most new initiatives funded from reallocations of funding rather than new money.

“This is an issue that affects current students and graduates, who trade off the currency of their qualification for the rest of their lives. All graduates have a long term interest in ensuring that their degree remains internationally recognised.

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The New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations exists to advance the political, social and economic interests of tertiary students whatever they study and wherever they live. NZUSA is a membership body of local students' associatons. We believe in opportunity for all.

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