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Join the dots on universities

Written By: - Date published: 1:20 pm, September 14th, 2011 - 46 comments
Categories: education - Tags: ,

See if you can join these dots to make a picture.

Dot one:

Dot 2:

NZ universities lose ground

New Zealand’s universities are continuing to lose ground against their international rivals, according to the latest worldwide rankings. …

Auckland University, which made the top 50 in 2007, was the only New Zealand institution in the top 100 this year, ranked 82. Last year it came in at 68.

The University of Canterbury slipped from 189 to 212 and Victoria University dropped from 225 to 237.

The University of Otago was the only one to buck the trend, gaining five places to be ranked 130. …

“In the end you get what you pay for.”

Not a pretty picture is it…

46 comments on “Join the dots on universities”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    “In the end you get what you pay for.”

    And if you don’t pay then you don’t get anything. The predictable result of cutting taxes is the collapse of society.

  2. Cheers, Anthony, for sharing our wee TEU graph. Incidentally we commented on much the same issue last week noting that QS world rankings are derived in part by student:staff ratios. And our ratios are climbing because the funding is not there to maintain them. Check out the QS site and see how NZ universities compare on the student: staff ratio measure alone.

  3. Dan 3

    I’d like to see this graph taking back to 2005 when we peaked against other universities internationally. Not playing “previous government” games, but more concerned about the huge underfunding that is pretty much systematic by default now.

  4. Obviously the education part is important, but financially Dunedin depends hugely on it’s university.

    University boosts Dunedin by $754.2m

    Dunedin reaped economic benefits to the value of $754.2 million from the University of Otago last year, according to a university report.

    This was equivalent to about 17% of the city’s gross domestic product.

    Good to see Otago improve against the odds.

    • Ed 4.1

      Improve from what, Pete? What were the equivalent numbers for say the previous 5 years?

      • Pete George 4.1.1

        Sorry, not clear, I was referring to “The University of Otago was the only one to buck the trend, gaining five places to be ranked 130. …”

        If they keep buying up all the pubs in North Dunedin they might reduce the drinking problems to…but to do that effectively they might have to buy out the supermarkets.

  5. Wow! That’s a cut in funding of over 25% Ouch!

  6. James Rawiri Meager 6

    Time is short, so I took these figures from the Vote Summaries (for Tertiary Education):

    Budget 2008: ~ $2.836b
    Budget 2009: ~ $2.892b
    Budget 2010: ~ $2.793b
    Budget 2011: ~ $2.781b

    When was Tertiary education funding ever $4.6b?

    Unless somebody can direct me to the more appropriate figures.

  7. insider 8

    If it’s that simple, why do the dots not join up the same way for Otago?

    • McFlock 8.1

      Because we’re O for Awesome.
      Or because statistical trends are not immutable laws.

      • insider 8.1.1

        I prefer the former :-)

        As for the latter, in which case it’s a bit silly to claim a simplistic relationship then isn’t it?

        • McFlock

          And thus the entire concept of statistical theory was deemed to be useless, in one simple sentence.
          No, it’s not. It’s not “proof” beyond any doubt. It is supporting evidence for people to make a real-world judgement. The data is checkable and public, the methodology is open, there is a rational theory for plausibility, and there seems to be a plausible time-corellation relationship. It is a reasonable illustration of “you get what you pay for”.
          But because stats don’t prove immutable laws, there is always an opportunity to ignore the obvious – it’s just dependent on how much scepticism someone wants to apply, and why. E.g. tobacco causing lung cancer and the anti-global warming crowd are in the area of “unreasonable amounts of scepticism”. Someone hearing a prediction that tomorrow will be sunny might be reasonably sceptical, especially if they had an outdoor wedding planned – contingencies would be in order. 
          Personally, to me it looks like the graph/connection is fair enough. Certainly more plausible than anything toryboys have produced.

  8. King Kong 9

    I saw a graph with a similar trend except it showed the decline in university performance against the increase in the number of staff on university payrolls spending their days commenting on political blogs.

  9. kriswgtn 10

    Where is Massey in this list? or dont it cut the mustard heh

    • mik e 10.1

      Don’t worry people ,Joyces plan is fool proof he’s building plenty of new motorways for him and his dimwitted petrol heads.It will be easier for our best and brightest to make their way to the airports when they leave New Zealand

  10. Where is Massey in this list?

    Went from 299 to 302. Remaining NZ universities didn’t make the top 500.

    It’s worth pointing out Dot 3: the previous govt shifted funding from universities to students but still got to categorise the money as “tertiary education spending.” National’s merely continuing a downhill slide that started under Labour. Following quote from one of a number of similar press releases issued by the NZVC’s Committee during the last Labour govt:

    “Though we have a high level of investment in tertiary education by OECD standards, an unusually high proportion of this is spent on students. In terms of total public investment in tertiary education, New Zealand spents 42 per cent on financial aid to students against an OECD average of 18 per cent.

    “Only 58 per cent of the tertiary budget is spent directly on institutions, compared with an OECD average of 82 per cent. This has significant implications for the quality of our university education.

    Sure did. And the current govt has not only retained the disproportional spend on students, but also reduced the overall funding in real terms and retained the cap on fees. The effects aren’t exactly difficult to figure out.

    • kriswgtn 11.1

      o i was suprised they even made it hahahaha

    • millsy 11.2

      So you think only white kids with rich parents who can afford tuition should be able to study at university, with a lucky few getting scholarship?

      Dont worry, your beloved National party is setting to work doing that – restricting access to loans for over 55’s, part timers, etc. (Never mind of course, that mature students and part timers who actually are there to study, and not to get drunk and bonk – not that there is anything wrong with that, but study comes first, social life second).

      • Psycho Milt 11.2.1

        1. Never voted National, never will.
        2. As usual, the main thing you bring to the argument is an example of the false dichotomy fallacy.
        3. I work for the university that stands to get hammered the worst by National’s policy of concentrating on school leavers, and no we don’t think it’s a good plan. However, it’s not very relevant to this post.

  11. prism 12

    I don’t know if this is relevant but I am seeing more obvious errors in the newspapers which I would have thought that literate people wouldn’t make. The latest was for an antique auction with a note at the bottom of the goods on sale that further entries would be excepted.

  12. Nigel Haworth 13

    It is true that Labour could have done better for the tertiary sector than they did. And to be fair to them, they made real efforts in a number of areas (interest free loans, increased numbers, increases in research funding, giving Auckland U.a big chunk of money for building development, for example). Above all, they came to the party on the issue of salaries, putting a significant amount into the salary pot as an outcome of tripartite agreements. Upon coming to power, the National Government immediately stopped that arrangement – both tripartism and the money for salaries -signalling their approach to universities.

    The sector sorely lacks strategic leadership, in part because of the games played between university managements as they deliberately construct a faux market in which they pretend to compete. That approach is, in my opinion, the single most damaging dimension of the university sector. I am often tempted to advocate a return to the Unversity of New Zealand as an antidote to corporatisation and its effects. There are honourable exceptions to this, as, for example, Otago has enjoyed in recent times.

    The relative decline of NZ universities has been a 20 year process of funding restraints and government disdain, particulary in the 1990s, something that seems to be a feature of the current government, too. The sector is inured to it, in part because many academics are engrossed in their research and put up with a lot before they complain. The sector makes do on shorter rations, usually with larger classes, reduced tutorial time, the use of technology and so on. Staff increasingly experience work as a white-collar Taylorism, bounded by compliance requirements and evermore intrusive supervision. It may be a little like climate change – we don’t really know when serious and irreversible damage has been done, such that a core foundation of a civilised and modern society no longer functions as it should. Some think we’ve passed that point already. What is clear is that, once that point is reached, recuperation is all but impossible. And that’s my fear.

    • r0b 13.1

      Good summary.  And many thanks for your years as AUS president by the way.

    • Colonial Viper 13.2

      NZ universities will need to be restructured shortly. Not in terms of organisational structure, but in terms of societal purpose.

      The question I would ask is: Are our universities bringing enlightenment to society and critical depth to the public discourse? Are they helping this country develop the educated, thoughtful population which we will require to successfully overcome the challenges we face as a society over the next 50 years?

      • Draco T Bastard 13.2.1

        The question I would ask is: Are our universities bringing enlightenment to society and critical depth to the public discourse? Are they helping this country develop the educated, thoughtful population which we will require to successfully overcome the challenges we face as a society over the next 50 years?

        The answer to that would be no as they’ve been turned into factories to turn out more worker drones.

  13. macleod 14

    as one of the few from working families that made it through the white middle class filter to get educated – let me drone on about overworked teachers tutors and researchers – too tired, overworked, cynical and fed up to focus on the real issue which is the damage to intellectual endeavour wrought by successive governments’ faux marketisation of education. the debate around which this further drowned out by the crapping on about non issues – such as what is meant by ‘bucking the trend’

    thank goodness for the worker drones – who don’t have much of a voice – yet their taxes are paying for this…

  14. macleod 15

    as one of the few from working families that made it through the white middle class filter to get educated – let me drone on about overworked teachers tutors and researchers – too tired, overworked, cynical and fed up to focus on the real issue which is the damage to intellectual endeavour wrought by successive governments’ faux marketisation of education. the debate around which is being further drowned out by the crapping on about non issues – such as what is meant by ‘bucking the trend’

    thank goodness for the worker drones – who don’t have much of a voice – yet their taxes are paying for this…

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