BIG NEWS

Friday, July 16, 2010

Minister wants education linked to jobs


Okay, the heading is misleading... it's not true at all. Tertiary Education minister Steven Joyce only wants the education that is on the back of state funding linked to jobs. And I agree that education should be linked to jobs.

What the Minister is reported to have said is that, ultimately, he would like to see funding based on how many of the previous year's students found work as a result of their qualification.Yet the minister, who completed his degree over a 22 year period, was one that didn't.

It's a shortsighted approach, particularly in the field of extramural education, which I have a bit to do with. A high proportion of extramural students already have jobs in the field they are studying , and finish their degree part time. Some are studying towards a qualification in a field they would like to enter, but already have jobs - and are not going to run away from that job until they can secure another one.

Its unlikely that funding for extramural institutions will be based on how many of the previous year's students found work in the field they are studying. I know of some students who have dropped out of their qualifications after securing jobs in their chosen field, without these qualifications.I know of others who have worked at Studylink because they were one of the 99 who missed out on each application for jobs in their field after graduating. I know of students who have studied midwifery that have then had kids. Does that count?

If university funding is based on completion and jobs, the model will fail - a third of students who finished university do not have a full time job six months later. Of the two thirds that do, it is not known what proportion is in the field of study. I wonder if this postgraduate student who did a thesis on the political blogosphere managed to get a job blogging six months after he finished.

Nah, he probably ended up at Vodafone or somewhere similar. Good on him, too.

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