World rankings note NZ's reduction in tertiary education funding



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The latest Universitas21 rankings report singles out the New Zealand government for criticism for its reduction in tertiary education funding.

The report shows that New Zealand's higher education sector ranks 15th in the world overall, despite the fact that New Zealand (along with Argentina, Iran and the Czech Republic) experienced the greatest falls in resourcing. 

The Universitas 21 rankings of 50 countries is compiled by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research. Countries are ranked in four areas: Resources, Environment, Connectivity and Output. New Zealand ranked second for environment and seventh for connectivity, but was well down the rankings for resources, falling five places down the rankings.

The report made special mention of New Zealand's situation, noting "the reduction in government funding as a share of GDP causes the ranking to fall five places to 23rd, back to the level in the 2015 rankings".

Chris Whelan, Executive Director of Universities New Zealand, says the ranking is a great reflection of a sector that works hard to ensure quality, relevance and connectivity across its teaching and research activities. However he said the drop in funding was concerning.

“It should be of concern to all New Zealanders that official statistics show that the New Zealand government’s expenditure on tertiary education institutions is below the OECD average.

“Our universities, wānanga and polytechnics now sit amongst a range of countries we do not traditionally compare ourselves against, including Indonesia, Colombia, Mexico, Brazil and Turkey.”

“However, the Government has the opportunity to put this right in its Budget later this month," says Whelan.


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