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October 8, 2012 | by  | in News |
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Degrees Worthless?


There has been some backlash to an article and editorial in the New Zealand Herald that claimed that degrees from New Zealand universities were “the most worthless in the developed world”

“The net value of a man’s tertiary education here is just $63,000 over a working life, compared with $395,000 in the United States. For a Kiwi woman, it’s $38,000” said the article.

But Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce said Government figures showing how much people earned four years after study were more positive.

“If you get a university degree in New Zealand or a higher level degree then they see a premium of around 50 per cent over those who don’t have degrees,” he said.

Several commenters observed that The Herald based it statistics on an OECD report, which distinguished between the earnings of those with university degrees and lower level qualifications. However the newspaper had used only either the earnings lower level qualifications, or a combination of the two to make its assertion that on average, those with degrees did not earn more than those without.

“The headlines are simply false” said education blogger, Dave Guerin.

However, Professor Jacqueline Rowarth of Waikato University’s management school said thousands of students were enrolling in expensive creative arts courses that would not help them to find work.

“They’re sold a crock by people telling them to follow their passion. We fund an awful lot of peculiar courses,” she said.

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