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Calls for more funding for uni teaching

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 5/09/2016

Increased government funding for New Zealand university research has seen global rankings go up, but more needs to be done to fund teaching at the institutions, Universities New Zealand says.

The University of Auckland remains the only New Zealand school in the world's top 100, going up from 82nd to 81st position, in the latest annual QS World University Rankings.

Meanwhile, the University of Otago gained four places to to reach 169th, in the data released on Tuesday morning.

University of Canterbury came in at 214 and Victoria at 228, while Lincoln University jumped 30 places to number 343.

All eight of New Zealand's universities came in the top 3 per cent of schools around the globe.

Universities New Zealand director Chris Whelan says increased government investment has turned around a slow decline in New Zealand university rankings over the previous decade.

"Investment over the last few years in additional research and an increased focus on funding high quality research with real world benefits has contributed significantly to these ranking results."

But he said local universities had not performed well in areas such as staff to student ratios, reflecting low funding levels compared to other countries.

"This reflects a sector that is under financial pressure and is now having to teach students at funding levels that are only 70 per cent of comparable universities in countries like Australia and the United Kingdom."

He said he hoped the improved results in research would encourage the government to increase funding to decrease financial pressure on teaching at universities.

The results also reflected a small drop in reputation of universities among employers, he said.

The QS World University Rankings is a league table of the world's tertiary institutes and rates them on research, resourcing, graduate employability and internationalisation.

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