You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Union says education is budget loser

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 25/05/2017

New Zealand's largest education union has marked the budget as a fail, saying the sector has come out a loser.

The NZEI says early childhood services are suffering the seventh straight year of a funding freeze, and an increase to the school operations grant that won't cover inflation.

"We were hoping for a major boost for education, but this wasn't even a catch-up," president Lynda Stuart said.

"This is a devastating blow to a sector that has been struggling to make ends meet and give our children a quality public education."

She said the institute estimated that schools needed an extra $50 million a year in the operations grant, but had been given $60.5 million over four years.

Meanwhile, the NZ Union of Student Associations has welcomed an increase in the accommodation benefit cap from $40 to $60 a week, but said it didn't go far enough.

Support for pupils with learning needs makes up a big portion of the government's education funding in this year's budget.

A total of $15.5 million will help out an extra 625 children, enough to reach the government's goal of in-class support for 4000 students in all.

It means teachers will have more time for all the children in their classrooms, Education Minister Nikki Kaye says.

The teacher aide funding follows earlier announcements of specialist behaviour services and investment in children who struggle with talking and listening.

Schools and early education will get a $1.5 billion cash injection to fund day-to-day operations, new schools and expansions, and 31,000 extra early learning places over the next four years.

At the other end of the learning spectrum, $69m has been set aside to increase tuition subsidies for qualification level three and above and $52.5m for the Performance-Based Research Fund to reward high-quality research.

Tertiary Education Minister Paul Goldsmith talked up the importance of international education, New Zealand's fourth largest export industry.

The budget has poured $6.8m into supporting "sustainable growth" in international education.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon