50% of Massey Students Drop Out
A series of tertiary league tables released by the Tertiary Education Commission place the University of Otago first in two out of four performance areas. The study was conducted to reveal how taxpayer-subsidised students in New Zealand are performing in tertiary study.
The four performance areas were successful completion of papers, completion of a qualification, progress to a higher level of study and the number of students who either continued to study or completed a qualification.
Otago was found to be the top ranked university in the country for the completion of papers, with 89% of students doing so. Massey University was found to have the worst qualification completion rate with only 49% of students completing their qualification, compared with 81% for Otago students.
No data was available for Otago students’ rate of progression to higher-level study, while 88% of Otago students either re-enrolled at the university for the following academic year or completed their qualifications.
The university has also maintained its position as one of the top 300 universities in the world. This is the fifth consecutive year in which Otago has ranked in the top 201-300 universities list, which is created by researchers at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Vice-Chancellor Harlene Hayne said the University was “very pleased” to maintain its top 300 position.
The QS World University Rankings were more generous, rating Otago 133rd in the world, second in New Zealand after the University of Auckland, which was ranked 83rd.
From 2009-2011, course completion rates at tertiary institutions across the country have risen from 62% to 71%. Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce told media: “This is exactly the type of improvement we have been working towards. It shows the tertiary sector is responding to our signals to focus on performance and to deliver better value for taxpayers’ money”.
Joyce and Minister of Education Hekia Parata announced that the Government plans to continue the success of New Zealand tertiary institutions through the implementation of “incentives”. The ministers aim to ensure that 55% of 24-35 year olds have level 4 or higher qualifications by 2017, up from the current rate of 52%.
The ministers say this can be achieved through linking funding of tertiary institutions to performance and redirecting funding away from courses with low completion rates. However, opponents suggest that there is no evidence that this approach will work, and say that the detrimental effects of such an approach will be apparent in the future findings of tertiary league tables.