Wed, 04 October 2023
The Daily Ittefaq

New Zealand bails out struggling universities

Update : 28 Jun 2023, 01:30

New Zealand on Tuesday announced a multi-million-dollar bailout for cash-strapped universities, in the hope of preventing jobs and courses from being cut at institutions struggling to bounce back from the pandemic.

The finance and education departments said they will pump NZ$128 million (US$79 million) into the sector through more tuition subsidies, reports AFP.

Some of New Zealand's top universities are struggling with low domestic enrolment numbers and a slower-than-hoped return of international students after Covid-19 border closures.

Dunedin-based Otago University and Victoria University of Wellington each recently signalled that hundreds of jobs could be in jeopardy and courses cut due to budget shortfalls.

Education Minister Jan Tinetti said the one-off boost will help New Zealand's degree providers over the next two years.

"This funding will help maintain the quality and breadth of higher education offerings and research capability in our tertiary institutions," she added.

"This is vital for our students, our tertiary workforce, our broader research system, and for economic and social wellbeing in New Zealand."

She admitted the cash boost "will not resolve all the issues that universities are facing, but it should make a positive difference".

Julie Douglas, president of the Tertiary Education Union, described the government's decision as "better late than never" and was "cautiously optimistic" that the extra money would be enough to stop some universities from having to make cuts.

"But given it is not targeted at the institutions that are struggling the most, we are concerned the money may be spread too thin," she warned.

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