Then there are articles like the one on the Herald this morning. With University administrators (I hesitate to call them leaders), putting out statements to the media like, "The committee said the OECD average was for 82 per cent of government funding to be devoted to institutions and 18 per cent to student financial support. But in New Zealand 58 per cent went to institutions and 42 per cent to students.". They go on to say they are not really interested in a "zero-sum game" battle between universities and students but obviously they are.
The Herald quoting Hugh Fletcher on education, scares the bejusus out of me. Really. Its hovering over me like a stormy sulky cloud.
The fees cap: "I just think it's a nonsense for the Government to be controlling fees."
How some degrees should cost more than others: "[Law] students should be paying a hell of a lot more than those doing a history degree."
How some law schools should cost more than others: "Let the students decide. If they want to go to the lower priced one, they can go to the lower priced one."
The biases his ideas seek to perpetuate and increase are all to obvious. The ironic thing is I'm not really too far "left" on University funding. I like the reasoning behind strategically directed and focussed Universities. I supported the intent, if not the method, of the reduction of Arts at Canterbury University in the last couple of years (we have better humanities schools elsewhere) and I like the idea, if not the practice, of making academics more accountable for their research outputs. I'm way out on the "right", in my opinion that the biggest problem with Universities today (and arguably the public service) is "tenure" and the sense of privilege of University staff. The problems of deadwood, academic paralysis and inter-departmental rivalries may be overcome by changing how academics are employed. The current funding system is achieving this to some degree, but experiencing teething troubles with bureaucracy, it will be interesting to see how this evolves.