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Joyce’s latest brainfart

Written By: - Date published: 11:27 am, May 19th, 2012 - 45 comments
Categories: Steven Joyce, tertiary education - Tags:

Minister for Talking Big and Not Delivering, Steven Joyce, had his second opinion piece in the Herald of the year (the Herald doesn’t usually run politicians’ opinion pieces) and, naturally, it bore no relation to the ‘vision’ in the previous one, or any of the 5 point strategies or 8 point action plans he has produced to date. Instead, it said ‘wouldn’t it be great if more international students came here?’. Problem is, his actions are driving them away.

Joyce vacuously notes that the universities of New South Wales and Queensland have a similar number of students as Auckland but twice as many of them are fee-paying international students. Seemingly, this means it should be no thing to double the number of international students coming to New Zealand.

To which we’re left asking: so what are you doing about it?

Well, putting $10 million a year marketing. OK, sounds good.

But, wait. International student numbers plunged 7% last year. Why?

Because Joyce is cutting tertiary education.

With the exception of Waikato, each New Zealand university’s international ranking has fallen under National. Auckland has plunged from 65th to 82nd – and that’s the only one in the top hundred.

How are you going to get more people to come to student at universities of declining relative quality? ‘Study in Auckland, at least it’s not Tasmania!’

This is really typical Joyce – cut the quality and up the marketing. It’s no good for our young people trying to get an education, and it sure won’t get more people to come here to study from overseas.

45 comments on “Joyce’s latest brainfart ”

  1. captain hook 1

    well his rationale for ultra fast broadband was so, nudge nudge wink wink people could “DOWNLOAD” faster, so maybe they will come for that?
    nice lil ole law abiding country that we tell everybody else we are.
    anyway his lack of vision and any sort of nous about how the real world works is becoming cruelly exposed for the pinheaded sort of haalf assed nonsense it always was.

  2. Dave Guerin 2

    I agree that Joyce’s op-ed was ridiculous but the reason for the decline in export education last year was the Chch quakes.The 37% loss in Canterbury students could not be made up by growth elsewhere.

    You can find the full stats at http://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/__data/assets/excel_doc/0019/102592/Export-Education-Levy-Full-Year-2003-to-2011.xls

    • bbfloyd 2.1

      which is why auckland university is falling away in standards…. right…maybe i’m just cynical, but that looks like more bullshit excuses to me..

      • Bill 2.1.1

        Aren’t reduced world rankings and declining numbers of international students seperate issues, bbfloyd? Or is the argument that the foreign students are the smart one’s who held the rankings up?

    • ghostwhowalksnz 2.2

      The Saudis have said they are coming to Auckland instead of Christchurch- excuse gone by breakfast

    • Vicky32 2.3

      I agree that Joyce’s op-ed was ridiculous but the reason for the decline in export education last year was the Chch quakes

      I know of at least one Christchurch language school which decided to open up here (Auckland) only to discover that the students don’t want to come to New Zealand at all. (I interviewed with them, they’re the kind of language school that gives all of them a bad name.)

  3. I hear a lot of comments about how this guy is supposed to be one of the smart ones in this National-led Government, and here we are seeing him parading an ignorance that for a Minister of the Crown is simply breath-taking.

    • Kevin Welsh 3.1

      Not really Robert, he shares that piece of turf with those other mental giants Brownlee, Bennett and Key.

      • Hami Shearlie 3.1.1

        Not to mention McCully and “Maestro” Jonathon Coleman! Kate Wilkinson gets the nod as does Anne Tolley , I’m on a roll now, it’s hard to stop really, KW!

  4. millsy 4

    Quite frankly, if our public Universities, polytechs and schools started focusing on educating NEW ZEALANDERS rather than trying to attract as much international students as possible, then this country will be a lot better off.

    Quite frankly, they will spend more time and money catering to the international students, because they bring the money in, rather than focusing on edcuating New Zealanders.

    • bbfloyd 4.1

      further to that idea…. if we had universities that produced world class outcomes, as in highly skilled and trained academics, scientists, physicians, and researchers, then ther would be a demand for places from overseas students….

      that is how universities attract fee paying students… give them something worth paying for…the egg cometh before the chicken…. and who will pay money to be given a second rate diploma?

    • marsman 4.2

      Quite right millsy. And besides generations of New Zealanders have contributed financially to our Universities and we are still contributing. They have been and are an investment in our children and grand-children’s further education.
      If half the places at Universities are taken by overseas students our own children will be unable to use the facilities provided for them.
      Sneaky Steven Joyce’s Tertiary Education Scam is akin to a State Asset sale.

      • bbfloyd 4.2.1

        so, if we had universities that produced top class outcomes for new zealanders, and that created interest from overseas, then expanding campuses to accommodate the influx wouln’t be out of the question?

        • marsman 4.2.1.1

          Sounds good to me bbfloyd.

          • jsrret 4.2.1.1.1

            that already happened marsman, why do you think there are international students here now? did they perhaps come here on the off chance that the nz system will suddenly improve right after they arrive in the country?… what a dick… and now we hear racist old lefties like marsman and millsy saying the new buildings and campuses were paid for by taxpayers so dirty little asians have no place on those campuses no matter how many more tens of thousands of dollars each of them pay to be there than is paid by good “new zealand” students

            • marsman 4.2.1.1.1.1

              ‘and now we hear racist old lefties like marsman and millsy saying the new buildings and campuses were paid for by taxpayers so dirty little asians…. ‘ You are way out of line with those comments, those are your nasty little words not mine!

  5. captain hook 5

    well unless they start paying the academic staff what they are worth then the universities in new zealand are going to go into a slow decline anyway.
    you cant have it both ways.

  6. With the exception of Waikato, each New Zealand university’s international ranking has fallen under National.

    If we’re dishing political blame for the decline in NZ universities’ international rankings, it’s actually Labour that needs to be dipped in shit. It was the previous govt that shifted funding from universities to students, with the fairly predictable effects that we’re seeing now (predictable in the very real sense that the NZ VC’s committee was predicting it while Labour was still in power). National’s share of the blame is only that they haven’t had the bollocks to undo the changes made by their predecessors.

    …if our public Universities, polytechs and schools started focusing on educating NEW ZEALANDERS rather than trying to attract as much international students as possible, then this country will be a lot better off.

    That’s simply not true in the case of universities – or at least, it’s not true unless we get a government that involves neither Labour nor National, which isn’t very likely. Under both parties, international students are a net gain for universities while NZ students are a net loss. Without the international students, university qualifications for locals would be more expensive – presumably, neither students nor the taxpayers funding their education would be keen on that.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 6.1

      They didnt shift funding- it was new funding. What made you think the paying for interest on student loans money was taken from the universities budget.
      Of course the institutions now think its their money

    • ghostwhowalksnz 6.2

      The student loan funding comes out of the Ministry of Social development.

      It was NEVER university funding anyway

      a total of $1,590 million on payments for student loans.
      http://www.treasury.govt.nz/budget/2011/estimates/index.htm/182.htm

      • Psycho Milt 6.2.1

        The way the scam worked was that Labour could say it had increased funding to “tertiary education” because money spent on students can be categorised as tertiary education funding. The per-student funding for universities declined in real terms at the same time as universities’ costs were rising faster than inflation (for things like IT, the academic publishing ripoff, lab equipment), but Labour could truthfully claim “tertiary education funding” had increased. National’s merely continued with the mess Labour created because fixing it would be extremely voter-unfriendly, and international rankings for our universities have suffered accordingly.

    • DH 6.3

      “Under both parties, international students are a net gain for universities while NZ students are a net loss.”

      It actually looks the opposite if you examine the numbers Joyce has given. Based on total income in 2011 of $950m and roll of 40,000 the average income from all students at Auck Uni was roughly $24,000 per student. Joyce’s figures say the average income from international students in 2010 was $14,000 per student ($68m / 4800)

      Extra fee paying students are generally only financially beneficial when the Uni is not using its existing resources to the full potential, they bring in extra money without the proportionate increase in costs. Too large an increase however would necessitate spending on more resources and in all likelihood cause the Uni to lose money or at best break even.

      The current & ex students here would be better informed on this than me but I can’t see Auckland Uni being able to absorb another 8000 students without substantial new capital investment and a lot more staff. Joyce only refers to the income & ignores the costs which is very misleading IMO.

  7. fatty 7

    “It was the previous govt that shifted funding from universities to students”

    Its true that Labour have, and will again soon, underfund universities.
    But I disagree that the funding went to students. Student debt spiralled out of control under Labour, they crippled a generation. Loaning is not funding. Labour underfunded universities AND students.

    “National’s share of the blame is only that they haven’t had the bollocks to undo the changes made by their predecessors.”

    Good point…Uncle John molests uni students the same way that Aunty Helen did

    This was at the end of Labour’s 9 year effort;
    http://www.students.org.nz/index.php?page=10_billion

    • Jim Nald 7.1

      Time for a Greece-like default. Go on, Natz & Labour, you know you don’t want to.

      • fatty 7.1.1

        I’m praying for hyper inflation…it’ll write-off my student loan. You know the socio-economic status of a country is screwed when 2 generations would be better off with a complete crash of our economy

      • Kotahi Tane Huna 7.1.2

        Jim Nald, I wonder: when people who know something about economics (obviously not you) point out that NZ and Greece are not comparable, do you have the command of English necessary to understand them?

    • But I disagree that the funding went to students.

      In 2008, the last year Labour was in power, the NZVCC reported that the proportion of NZ’s tertiary education spend that was going to students was 42%, compared with an OECD average of 18%. Total student debt may have also gone up a lot, but that was an inevitable consequence of encouraging more people into university study, and an especially-inevitable consequence of offering interest-free loans.

      • ghostwhowalksnz 7.2.1

        Its only interest free if they pay it back. The repayments are the same, just the time to repay is less.
        The universities certainly arent going to get the money allocated for paying interest on student loans.
        You are just using pyscho babble .

      • Psycho Milt 7.2.2

        Try actually reading the comment. There are two points:

        1. Labour directed funding to students rather than universities. This is illustrated by the NZVCC’s 2008 reference to NZ spending 42% of its tertiary ed funding on students, compared with an OECD average of 18%.

        2. The big increase in total student debt under Labour that Fatty refers to is explained by the fact it encouraged more people to take up tertiary study and the fact that it introduced interest-free loans. As you may recall, an increase in total debt was predicted as an obvious outcome when interest-free loans were introduced.

        • millsy 7.2.2.1

          PM, do you want to raise financial barriers to study?

          • Psycho Milt 7.2.2.1.1

            What I want doesn’t really come into it. The options are: continue with the status quo and the accompanying slide down the rankings; increase universities’ funding through whatever means; reduce the number of students. There’s unpleasantness of some description, no matter which option is chosen.

        • ghostwhowalksnz 7.2.2.2

          “increase in total debt was predicted as an obvious outcome when interest-free loans were introduced”

          Really . You can show that?. The rising debt was an outcome of bringing in student loans to start with.

      • fatty 7.2.3

        “In 2008, the last year Labour was in power, the NZVCC reported that the proportion of NZ’s tertiary education spend that was going to students was 42%, compared with an OECD average of 18%.”

        I accept that money went to students, but that was a loan, so I wouldn’t consider it ‘funding’. That’s like claiming a punch in face is ‘giving someone a hand’…you are ignoring the fact that the ‘hand’ is a violent fist.

        “Total student debt may have also gone up a lot, but that was an inevitable consequence of encouraging more people into university study, and an especially-inevitable consequence of offering interest-free loans.”

        That’s Don Brash logic. Student debt exists firstly because we choose education to be a personal responsibility and a personal asset…eduction should be a productive part of an inclusive society and a human right.

        • Psycho Milt 7.2.3.1

          Student debt exists not because we regard education as a private good (if we did, you’d be borrowing to cover 100% of the teaching costs, not 40% or so), but because there was no way to handle the increased numbers of students over the last 25 years and the increasing costs of tertiary ed under the old free education system. That remains a problem to be overcome by anyone proposing to do away with student fees – how to go back to the old $200 a year system without going back to the same low numbers of students.

          Also, you may not consider the money spent on student loans to be “tertiary education funding,” but both Labour and National govts do – which is the whole point.

          • Colonial Viper 7.2.3.1.1

            but because there was no way to handle the increased numbers of students over the last 25 years and the increasing costs of tertiary ed under the old free education system.

            We could have focussed on creating good trades and technical jobs, encouraging young people to train for them, and developing productive industries for them to grow long term careers in.

            Instead of all these worse than useless BAs, BComs and law degrees.

          • fatty 7.2.3.1.2

            “Student debt exists not because we regard education as a private good (if we did, you’d be borrowing to cover 100% of the teaching costs, not 40% or so)”

            Considering something a personal responsibility or a personal asset does not mean the Government should or does separate itself from it. That’s a Libertarian/laissez faire interpretation of personal responsibility. To assume my statement was framed in that perspective is illogical, don’t play dumb to twist my argument based on an ideology the has not existed in modern NZ…back your ability if you think you have an argument. I was obviously talking about our third-way/neo-lib form of ‘individual responsibility’ that has been embedded in NZ politics since the 1980s.

            “because there was no way to handle the increased numbers of students over the last 25 years and the increasing costs of tertiary ed under the old free education system. That remains a problem to be overcome by anyone proposing to do away with student fees – how to go back to the old $200 a year system without going back to the same low numbers of students.”

            I think its quite simple, rearrange the tax to make a more equitable society and then you won’t have loads of people going to uni. At the moment the only option to get up the ladder or to receive a liveable wage is through higher education. Most of the people at uni would much rather be working if a fair wage was given. We could offer free education to people who wanted it, or for jobs that need it. Its the slow death of the middle class that has created the high uni enrolments.

            “Also, you may not consider the money spent on student loans to be “tertiary education funding,” but both Labour and National govts do – which is the whole point.”

            LOL…I’m not stupid enough to fall for the cheeky semantics of our leaders. ..you go for it

  8. Murray Olsen 8

    When I was a PhD student in Auckland I predicted that the number of overseas fee paying students would fall as the standards dropped to make sure those who were coming got a return on their investment. This is exactly what happened. Now I work at an Australian university which is doing basically the same thing, with the result that the academic staff get overloaded trying to teach postgraduates with straight A CVs from their home countries who are unable to understand first year concepts. Trying to run our universities on foreign fees may be good to redecorate Vice Chancellor’s offices in the short term, but will lead to them concentrating on remedial reading and arithmetic in the long term and make us an international laughing stock.

  9. prism 9

    What a good idea to be always milking something, now our education systems international income. Reducing investment in our universities won’t help in attracting students and dropping us down the world varsity pecking order. But another policy, capping NZ places will allow for more international students. Good idea, seeing we are happy to proceed with policies based on prejudice, personal opinion with a few facts sprinkled on top for garnish.

    Providing more pastoral care for the foreign students both female and male, would help to reduce the crime, personal disasters like unwanted pregnancies, deaths etc that crop up from time to time and get a lot of attention that affects student location decisions negatively. Nothing can be done about scary earthquakes, and unfortunately for them and for the country, a large number of students were killed or injured in oone building in Christchurch.

    The students are young and in a different culture away from their parents and their own culture. And we’re not the friendly isles though that’s the image we want to reflect. We need to concentrate on providing good quality learning and living.

    • Vicky32 9.1

      And we’re not the friendly isles though that’s the image we want to reflect.

      Sadly true!
      My students aren’t at Universities, though many perhaps most, are at the schools where I work in hopes of getting a good enough IELTS for whatever university study they want to undertake.
      However, many have told me about being insulted as foreigners taking ‘our jobs’ even though if they work, they work for relatives (one girl has a hateful job as a kitchen hand in her uncle’s Korean restaurant – his price for giving her accommodation here. He’d never hire a New Zealander, he doesn’t have to, with her free labour!)… 

      • prism 9.1.1

        I wonder if she has to work in the restaurant till 10pm and then try to study while tired and smelling of hot oil and onions. At least she ought to get a meal there.

        • Vicky32 9.1.1.1

          I wonder if she has to work in the restaurant till 10pm and then try to study while tired and smelling of hot oil and onions

          Exactly that, as far as I know! She told me that she has no choice, because he’s her uncle, she ‘owes’ it to him… Most of the Asian students are not at all rich, even though Joe and Joanne Bloggs in the street tend to assume that they are.
          Many of those from the ME are however, although most of the Saudis are on scholarships from their government, which watches them like a hawk, and frequently calls them in for meetings. Not a position I would want to be in, from what I know of the Saudi govt!

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