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With the 2018 academic year drawing near, questions remain around how our science laboratories will maintain a world-class standard given all the Government’s tertiary spending is going into student support with no extra money for the institutions themselves, National’s Tertiary Education spokesperson Paul Goldsmith and Science and Innovation spokesperson Parmjeet Parmar say.

“Surely the Government’s priority for tertiary education should be to improve the quality of education, which means investing more in the universities and polytechnics so that they can deliver world-class education that equips young New Zealanders to be globally competitive,” Mr Goldsmith says.

“Funding science laboratories to maintain the highest quality of education and facilities is essential if we are to ensure that budding Kiwi scientists can keep up with the world’s best.”

But Ms Parmar says that with all the new tertiary spending going into student support, we can be sure that there will be little to no money left to invest in maintaining and developing the quality of our science laboratories.

“Setting up a science laboratory with all the right equipment can cost tens of thousands of dollars, not to mention the annual running costs of such laboratories. But it’s money well spent if it means that New Zealand can continue to produce world-class scientists.

“It’s difficult to see the point of getting more students into tertiary education if the institutions are not even funded enough to be able to keep up with international standards. We should not be compromising quality of education for volume of enrolments.

“What makes this all harder to stomach is the fact that there will be barely any increase in enrolments so the Government can’t even justify the reasons why there will be no extra money for science laboratories.

“Not only this, but if we cannot maintain the quality of our facilities we can be sure that serious aspiring scientists will be taking their enrolments overseas,” Dr Parmar says.

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