16 Sep 2015
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Labour calls out Govt's tertiary data requirement plan

By Shannon Williams

Labour says the Government’s recent announcement that tertiary institutes are required to reveal where their graduates end up working and what they earn is a step in the right direction, however the plan comes with what the opposition party is calling ‘fish hooks’.

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,” Labour’s Tertiary Education spokesperson David Cunliffe says.

“However it needs to apply to private providers as well.”

Cunliffe says 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,” Cunliffe says.

“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,” he says.

“In planning their futures students must consider their values, motivations and aptitudes. Learning is for life as well as for money.”

Cunliffe says 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,” he says.

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