College owner questions funding

A Manawatu education leader is questioning the distribution of the latest round of tertiary funding allocations, with a comparatively small number of student spots funded for the region.

English Teaching College owner John Brunsden said his private establishment had been awarded funding for a combined literacy course offered as part of a mechanic qualification. But he was uncomfortable with the "uneven" distribution of winners and losers from the funding pool. "I am surprised at the regional distribution of the courses that have been funded that are not related to employment skills when unemployment rates are higher than ever," Mr Brunsden said.

Te Wananga o Aotearoa got the lion's share of a round of Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) funding, taking more than half of the $40 million in funding contested by education providers nationwide.

The wananga's successful tender included funding for about 60 student spots in Manawatu, with a further 88 spots at private training establishments funded by the TEC.

The $40m in contestable Student Achievement Component (SAC) funding for tertiary providers offering level one and two qualifications covered 5537 student places throughout New Zealand. Less than 3 per cent of the funding has come to Manawatu training providers.

Te Wananga O Aotearoa was awarded 57 per cent of the funding nationwide, while others such as Palmerston North and Whanganui's UCOL, which hosts about 3000 students, missed out.

The wananga course that attracted the most funding was the Certificate in Te Ara Rei Maori Level 2 which received funds for 1747 equivalent fulltime study points.

A Te Wananga o Aotearoa spokesman said the institute was one of the largest in the country, with a wide outreach.

"We can't compare them. The wananga is one of the largest tertiary organisations in the country that has a wide outreach. That is one of its appeals, it can provide education to people who need access to educators."

The wananga had one of the highest course completion rates in the country, its spokesman said.

No one from TEC returned calls for comment.

Manawatu Standard