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Court Decision Supports TEC In Uni. Comparisons

MEDIA STATEMENT 6 April 2004

Court Decision Supports Tertiary Education Commission In Comparing British And New Zealand Universities

The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) welcomes the High Court’s decision, released today, supporting the right of the TEC to undertake an international comparison between NZ and British universities on the quality of research. The Judge concluded that ‘it could not be said the (international) comparison was impossible.’ Consequently, the TEC will now consult.

The judge concluded that the sole, live, legitimate complaint is the lack of consultation about aspects of the international comparison and lack of opportunity to input into those aspects.

“The court decision validates our judgement that the comparison could be made,” said TEC Chair Dr Andrew West. “We will now provide the opportunity for appropriate consultation about the international comparison. Following this consultation, the court says the TEC may decide to publish the international comparison either in its present or a modified form.”

Today’s High Court decision follows an application by the University of Auckland and the Victoria University of Wellington to stop the release of the comparison contained in the TEC’s Performance Based Research Fund (PBRF) 2003 Evaluation and Assessment results.

The report was scheduled for release to participating tertiary education organisations on March 17 but the two universities obtained an injunction preventing the release of the information relating to the international comparison.

“Our principal focus now is to release the results of the PBRF to participating organisations and the public. To do this promptly, we will now rewrite the PBRF 2003 Evaluation and Assessment report without the international comparison material. We will begin discussing consultation shortly.

“We hope to have the Assessment results to those tertiary education organisations which took part in the process before the end of April. The results will be released publicly about a week later,” said Dr West.

ENDS

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