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Adult and community education vital

Adult and community education vital

By Janice Shiner, Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) Chief Executive

For years adult and community education has played a vital role in our communities, providing people with the opportunity to learn new skills, continue in education and, for some, return to education after a long break.

The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) is currently working with the schools, polytechnics, universities, and community organisations that provide adult and community education to ensure a wider range of people have opportunities to learn.

The TEC is also working with these groups to make sure that adult and community education is of the highest possible standard, and that the government gets value for the money it invests. This is in line with what adult and community education groups told us they see as a priority.

Supporting this work is a new funding system that will be phased in over a three-year period.

A key feature of adult and community education is that it is provided by local organisations that are best-placed to have a good understanding of their community. What we want to ensure is that adult and community education groups are talking with community leaders, and are steering their programmes of courses and activities towards areas of greatest community need.

To help with ensuring adult and community education is of the highest possible standard, $16.5 million is available to groups over the next four years. At the same time, the TEC is providing practical help and advice through people in its offices throughout the country.

For example – because quite a few of the groups providing adult and community education are small – the TEC has helped set up 37 networks of adult and community groups across the country. These networks encourage the groups to work together on how they can best meet the needs of their community, and share the passion that they have for adult and community education.

Some adult and community education groups have also asked us to help them develop their professional skills so they can become better at managing themselves, and are more able to find out what education and skills people in their community need and how they can develop the courses to match.

To assist with this work, the TEC is investing $900,000 a year, starting from this year, and working closely with groups to ensure the money is spent in areas of greatest need first.

Underpinning adult and community education in New Zealand is a real passion. The Government and the TEC is keen to ensure that this passion is kept alive, and directed towards making a real difference for a wider range of people.


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