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TEC announces $2.2 bil investments for 2008

14 December 2007

TEC announces $2.2 billion of tertiary education investment decisions for 2008 today

The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) has announced more than $2.2 billion of the approximately $3.3 billion a year that it invests in tertiary education on behalf of the taxpayer.

“Today the TEC announced its approval of the Investment Plans of 110 tertiary education organisations* for up to three years,” said TEC Chair, David Shand. (*Universities, institutes of technology and polytechnics, wānanga, industry training organisations, and some private training establishments and other tertiary education providers).

“Approval of these Plans and announcement of the associated funding decisions marks a significant milestone in the implementation of the new way of investing in tertiary education.

“The new way of investing will ensure tertiary education organisations are funded to deliver quality education and training that is relevant to students, their potential employers, and the communities that they live in. How they will do this is outlined in each organisation’s Investment Plan.

“This rigour around planning is a significant change from the past when organisations were funded by the number of students they attracted, regardless of whether the education they were offering was relevant to students and of high quality.

“Importantly, the new approach gives tertiary students added confidence that what they are studying will provide them with knowledge and skills that they can use in their lives – knowledge and skills that are also important to New Zealand’s economic and social development.”

The $2.2 billion announced today is a significant proportion of the approximately $3.3 billion that the government invests in tertiary education and training a year, through its direct funding of tertiary education organisations.

“In its Investment Plan, each organisation has outlined how it will meet the education and training needs of students, employers, iwi, and community groups, and deliver on the country’s development priorities,” said Mr Shand.

“Each organisation has also outlined how the education and training it is planning to offer will complement what other organisations are going to offer, both locally and as part of the national network of tertiary education organisations.

“In addition, each organisation has included information on how it will continuously improve the quality of its teaching and learning.”

Mr Shand said tertiary education organisations would receive almost $290 million more in government funding next year than they did in 2006, and more than they are forecast to receive in 2007. Around $190 million of this extra funding is being directed towards universities.

“One of the focuses of universities next year is to improve participation and achievement by under-represented groups, particularly Māori and Pacific students.

“Another is to increase the proportion of postgraduate students, particularly in key areas such as science and engineering.

“Institutes of technology and polytechnics (ITPs) are also increasing the number of higher level qualifications they offer – some in collaboration with other organisations including universities – so students have more opportunities to study at higher levels.

“ITPs are also looking at how to improve student retention and completion rates, while increasing their focus on the region in which they are based.

“This will ensure that the education and training needs of local students, employers and community groups are better met and the skills of people in the workforce are improved.”

Mr Shand said it was good to see the progress that the wānanga sector has made in the past two years.

“Wānanga will continue to focus on meeting the education and training needs of Māori, and improving participation and achievement levels among Māori people.

“Industry Training Organisations (ITOs) are focused on understanding more about industry skill and training needs. They are also building collaborative relationships with other tertiary education organisations – in particular, with ITPs – to fulfil local and national skill and training needs.

“Thirty one private training establishments (PTEs) and 10 other tertiary education providers (OTEPs) have moved onto one year Investment Plans for 2008. The rest of the PTEs – more than 300 – will move onto Investment Plans in 2009.”

Mr Shand thanked the many people in tertiary education organisations around the country who had worked collaboratively with the TEC to reach the milestone passed today. He also thanked the staff of the TEC for their commitment and effort.

“The tertiary education sector is supportive of the change. However, approval of these plans is just a start. There is still work to do – for example, to refine the funding system – but important progress has been made and will continue to be made on the development of a tertiary education sector that more fully contributes to New Zealand’s economic and social development.”

ENDS

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