15 May 2014

Education spending tops $10 billion

6:30 pm on 15 May 2014

Spending on school and early childhood education will top $10 billion for the first time following the budget.

The single biggest area of new spending is the previously announced $359 million over four years to create 6000 new roles for the best teachers and principals.

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Schools get a 2 percent increase to their operations grant from the start of 2015, which will cost the Government about $22 million a year, or $85 million over four years.

New property spending of $284 million over four years will be used to build five new schools, buy three new school sites and expand one existing school.

Early childhood services get a 2.5 percent increase to the subsidies they receive for each child enrolled, but only to the non-salary component of those subsidies. This will cost about $13.5 million a year, or $53.6 million over four years.

Increased numbers of children and higher numbers of hours of enrolment will add a further $100 million over four years early childhood education spending.

The Government said new spending on school and early childhood education in the Budget totalled $857 million over four years, with 12 percent of that coming from cuts and reprioritisation within Vote: Education.

Science and research focus

Government funding for tertiary education is focused on science and research.

Subsidies for enrolments in science and agriculture courses increase 8.5 percent, pharmacy by 16.4 percent, and physiotherapy 12.4 percent, at a total cost of $23.8 million a year, or $83.3 million over four years.

There are no increases for other courses, meaning some institutions, particularly polytechnics and wananga, have had no increase to their government subsidies for several years.

Spending on Centres of Research Excellence increases $15 million a year to fund three more centres, one of which will be focused on Maori research, taking the total number of centres to 10.

The Government will also add $56.8 million to its contestable science funds over three years, starting in 2015/16.

A freeze on the minimum level of income at which student loan repayments are required ($19,084 per year) will be continued for a further two years, to April 2017. The Government said that, and lower-than-expected tertiary enrolments, would save it $144 million over the next two years.

The Budget showed total tertiary education spending would drop $9 million to $3.036 billion in the 2014/15 financial year.

Full coverage of the 2014 Budget