The OECD has just released its annual ‘Education at a Glance’ report, which takes a look at the state of education around the world. The theme that emerged in their findings is that the value of education is rising, but investment in education is falling.
The specific findings for New Zealand are pretty embarrassing for this Government.
What I’m most interested in are the figures for the ‘earnings premium’ from a tertiary education – in other words, the difference in how much you earn based on your level of education.
Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce has been justifying his cuts to student allowances and loans by arguing that you earn more if you study, so you can afford to pay your own way.
Except, the figures from the OECD fly in the face of his arguments. They show that New Zealanders receive the lowest increase in earnings from a tertiary education compared to all OECD countries.
In 2011, someone with a tertiary education in New Zealand earned 18% more than someone with a secondary education. But, the OECD average is 57%.
As well as being a poor justification for removing access to allowances, it also shows how attractive moving overseas will be for many graduates.
Steven Joyce needs to value students and graduates, not punish them. I hope that these findings are a wake-up call for the Minister.