Education mess

Written By: - Date published: 10:37 am, December 12th, 2015 - 13 comments
Categories: accountability, education, national, schools - Tags: , ,

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.


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.


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.


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:

13 comments on “Education mess”

  1. Sacha 1

    Just like the last time the Nats were in power, eventually their underfunding and ideological privatising causes crucial services to fall apart.

  2. BLiP 2

    We ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

  3. Saarbo 3

    Amazingly, Joyce replies “Whatever” to last tweet above. Where are the main stream media on this, Im sniffing another “Serco” here.

  4. Sabine 4

    The one thing we need not in a world that is falling apart physically, in which our resources are running out, in which our overlords are more concerned on stealing hoping that if they steal enough they might have a chance of survival, is an educated populace that actually understands what is happening to them.
    So educate them dumb, give them gods, guns and a loaf of stale bread, keep them barefeet and pregnant in their kitchen without stoves, cause these are the masses that can be controlled, like the sheep and cows that are send of to the slaughter house.

  5. Draco T Bastard 5

    National aren’t very good at this.

    Wrong. National are very good at stripping funding from public institutions and re-purposing that money into private profit. Even when the private institutions are caught rorting the system we can be sure that a few people get very wealthy from carrying out those rorts and that they’re not being held accountable for them.

    • Tracey 5.1

      Yup when national is in power the people who want govt out of business when labour is in, line up for their back door payouts.

  6. Tracey 6

    Remind me what Joyces degree is in, how long it took and who paid for it?

  7. linda 7

    nactz are a total disaster is there anything that doesn’t turn to custard students are getting into debt for a worthless education its fraud of the highest order

  8. greywarshark 8

    The majority of the educational entities mentioned are Maori. It would suit the RW to have them mess their own nests. Then they can be pointed out as representing Maori lack of …. whatever was the current whine.

    To me they have been set up to fail, and charter schools are going to be helped till they succeed, and then it will be obvious to any RW that Maori are no good at education and running things – everyone will be invited to look at their poor record, dishonest even – and charter schools will look good. Then support for Maori education will dry up and be handed to charter schools, some of which will be run by Maori, and some not.

    The idea is to have a balanced education system. The overseas students come here, pay for their education, and will be allowed to settle here and get jobs. The NZ will get what can be afforded from the takings from the overseas students training, NZ will get the second-best courses like we get the second-best produce that isn’t exported. No more Sir Ernest Rutherford’s for us.

    Who needs education anyway. Nobody in power uses it to base intelligent and forward looking policy on. And the jobs that an education would help have been traded for dairy and meat access to overseas. The 3R’s will be all that are needed and back to early 1900s and leaving school at age 12. The giant orcs will fly over the country and drop their ordure on the hapless people, and we won’t have any friendly shire to return to.

  9. Dave McQuillan 9

    To be clear, only 2 out of the 9 institutions mentioned appear to be Maori-linked (Te Whare Wanaga O Awanuiarangi & Manaakitanga Aoteoroa Charitable Trust). Aoraki is not. I’m not sure about Taratahi, although I can’t find any evidence that it is.

  10. gsays 10

    i couldnt help but notice that the name deloitte is common to a lot of these cases.
    maybe we would be better off without them and thier ilk?
    i am sure they will fully and fairly renumerated./sarc

    seriously this, like the 2008 gfc, is the enivitable result of capitalism.
    putting business people in charge of educational institution must end up in greedy antics and illegalities.
    some things are sacred and should not be profitted from.

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