A good, but depressing piece on tertiary education yesterday by Steve Deane in The Herald:
The $25 million student funding scandal
Taxpayers have already handed over millions of dollars to institutions which failed to deliver the education they promised. Steve Deane asks if we can have any confidence this won’t happen again.
It’s a long, interesting “Big Read” piece. Here’s the summary list from the end.
TE WHARE WANANGA O AWANUIARANGI: October 2014
The Whakatane-based wananga agrees to repay $5.9 million in taxpayer funding after an investigation finds NZ Warriors players and staff gained qualifications after doing one day of an 18-week tourism course, while volunteers at a national kapa haka festival also received certificates. Donna Grant, Awanuiarangi’s director of performing arts, resigns from the wananga and is referred to the Serious Fraud Office.
WITT: November 2014
Six staff members resign as the Western Institute of Technology in Taranaki repays TEC more than $3.5 million following an investigation into its National Certificate in Maori Performing Arts courses. A probe by forensic accounting firm Deloitte found students were not properly enrolled, attendance records were poorly kept and qualifications granted without assessments.
TARATAHI: September 2015
Masterton’s Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre agrees to repay $7,549,000 it received over a six-year period during which it overcharged the taxpayer. A second breach involved the enrolling of 67 staff in an entry-level programme when little or no teaching took place. Taratahi’s former chief executive, Dr Donovan Wearing, died suddenly in January – three months after the TEC confirmed it was undertaking a “targeted review” of the organisation. A second SFO investigation is launched.
AGRIBUSUSINESS TRAINING: October 2015
Agricultural training provider Agribusiness Training Ltd collapses after being ordered to pay back $6 million in taxpayer funding for under-delivering contracted teaching hours. Deloitte found five Agribusiness programmes delivered fewer teaching hours than its NZQA programme approvals specified.
MANAAKITANGA AOTEAROA CHARITBLE TRUST: November 2015
Rotorua private training establishment Manaakitanga Aotearoa Charitable Trust is stripped of its NZQA registration and ordered to repay $2.6 million in TEC funding. Operated by Donna Grant, the Maori performing arts college is subjected to reviews by Deloitte and NZQA, which find it under-delivered teaching hours, failed to record student attendances and over-reported the number of students successfully completing their studies.
Labour followed up with a press release:
High risk institutions tip of tertiary iceberg
Five high risk tertiary institutions are just the tip of the iceberg that is threatening the sector, Labour’s Associate Education (Tertiary) spokesperson David Cunliffe says.
“After a real funding cut in Budget 2015, a massive transfer of resources from the public to private tertiary sector, and weak monitoring and oversight systems, National has no-one to blame but itself.
“Canterbury, Lincoln and UNITEC are major public institutions and their precarious financial state is of huge concern.
“ Te Whare Wanaga Awanuiarangi was deeply implicated in a major rorting scandal and owes millions.
“The proposed $100 million Lincoln Hub is at the centre of the AgResearch debacle and its future must now be in question.
“Unitec is outsourcing 300 staff and privatised core functions amid a controversial restructure.
“Aoraki has been effectively forced into a takeover by CPIT under threat of closure.
“There are nine more tertiary institutions on close watch, and two under investigation for potential fraud.
“Stephen Joyce dumped this news just after Parliament had risen because he did not want to face the tough questions.
“Kiwis – including affected students – deserve to know which the other nine institutions on medium alert are. The Government should tell us now,” says David Cunliffe.
A mess in tertiary education. A mess in charter schools. Seven long years. National aren’t very good at this.
After Labour’s press release, the following exchange on Twitter:
@DavidCunliffeMP Do give your "breathless hyperbole" gland a rest David and go and have your Christmas break
— Steven Joyce (@stevenljoyce) December 10, 2015