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Govt criticised for wanting more international students

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, May 31 NZPA - The Government has been criticised for wanting to boost international student numbers at the same time as three the country's universities limit enrolments for domestic students.

Victoria and Otago Universities this month said they were closing admissions for domestic students for the rest of the year and would look at limiting entry in 2011.

Massey University has now made similar moves, blaming the lack of Government funding.

While Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce said increasing international student numbers would help universities financially, New Zealand Student Association Union co-president David Do said Government underfunding was making it harder for New Zealanders to get ahead.

Increasing international student enrolments was "not a silver bullet for continued underfunding", he said.

The quality of education, so often a selling point for overseas students, was also under threat, he said.

People who most needed education, including Maori and Pacific Island students, were being turned away.

Mr Do said it was "another nail in the coffin for open entry" to many university courses.

"Some will question why, when universities say there is no more capacity to enrol any more students, they plan to accept more international students rather than domestic students.

"Some will also question why some universities will continue to spend millions on overseas marketing and recruitment trips, when they point to underfunding putting pressure on their budgets."

Labour's tertiary education spokeswoman Maryan Street said properly fund tertiary institutions were the "powerhouses of smart economic growth".

Green party tertiary education spokesman Gareth Hughes said it was well known that more students went into tertiary education during recessions.

The Tertiary Education Union said the situation was the result of poor government planning.

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