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University Establishment Law Clarification Welcome

17 September 2004

University Establishment Law Clarification Welcomed

The tabling in Parliament today of legislation clarifying and improving the process for establishing universities has been welcomed by the NZ Vice-Chancellors’ Committee, the organisation which represents the country’s eight universities.

NZVCC chair Professor Stuart McCutcheon says it is good to see the Government taking a strategic position in relation to the establishment of further universities.

“What this Bill avoids is the potential waste in having the NZ Qualifications Authority spend large amounts of money assessing whether an applicant institution meets the characteristics of a university as defined by the Education Act. Now the minister will first have to make the decision whether the application is in New Zealand’s interests.”

In its response to a recent consultation paper on tertiary education organisations, the NZVCC supported the Government’s view that no further universities should be established at this time. The distinctive characteristics of universities as set out in the Education Act should be maintained to protect established standards of university education and New Zealand’s reputation as a provider of university education of international standing.

“What this country needs is a greater level of investment in the existing universities. not more universities,” Professor McCutcheon says.

“Further, the Government now needs to shift its attention to the illegal use of the protected term ‘university’. A number of institutions, both public and private, continue to suggest they are universities when plainly, in terms of the characteristics in the Act, they are not.”

ENDS

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