Future students may soon be literally following the money when it comes to deciding on a career in New Zealand after university.
Minister of Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Steven Joyce has announced that as of 2017, all universities and wananga throughout the country will be required to publish information regarding “the employment status and earnings” of all graduates, listed by specific degrees and diplomas.
The National Party initiative is aimed at helping students decide what degrees they should pursue and which degrees will grant them the greatest monetary reward.
Joyce claimed that “it is more important than ever for students to consider carefully their tertiary study options”.
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Currently Victoria carries out an annual Graduate Destination Survey which, along with other research, can give students an overview of what students could expect in terms of jobs and pay when they graduated.
According to the University’s Director of Student Academic Services Pam Thorburn, ‘Universities have been aware for some time of the Government’s interest in making more information available to students to enable them to make more informed decisions”.
Increased information sharing and the introduction of the Government’s ‘Rate My Qualification’ service next year will, according to Joyce, “let employers provide direct feedback to tertiary providers, and students about the qualifications employers value.”
The move is likely to see an increased industry-based focus in universities. Universities New Zealand Executive Director Chris Whelan expressed concerns that “it will be as easy for this exercise to mislead and confuse as it will be to guide and inform”.
Thorburn told Salient that the University had “not yet received any detailed information” from the Government about the new requirements. “As a result, we do not know how much, if any, additional work will be required by Victoria staff,” Thorburn said.
Students at Vic generally believed that the idea was fine, with one claiming the initiative was a “good idea in the sense that it will let students honestly know what they are in for”.
When asked about the potential lack of earnings surrounding certain degrees students claimed that they would study what they want regardless of its projected outcomes, or as another student put it, “most students wouldn’t be swayed by the stats.”
The information that will make up the data in 2017 will be gathered by Statistics New Zealand and the Inland Revenue Department.