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More NZers studying higher-level qualifications

11 December 2008

More New Zealanders studying higher-level qualifications

More New Zealanders are studying tertiary education qualifications at level 4 and above, the Secretary for Education Karen Sewell said today. From 2006 to 2007, the number of students in higher-level qualifications increased by 4.3 percent. The number of students aged under-25-years increased by an even greater percentage (up 4.7 percent).

Karen Sewell was commenting on the key findings of the Ministry of Education’s annual report on the tertiary education sector released today.

“Fifty-one percent of New Zealanders now hold a tertiary qualification, compared with 43 percent a decade ago, and 18 percent have a bachelors or higher qualification, compared with 9.2 percent in 1997. This rapid growth in people with qualifications is good for our economy and the country’s productivity,” Karen Sewell said.

Profile & Trends is an annual survey of the performance of the tertiary sector and has been published since 1998.

The government spent $4.8 billion on tertiary education in 2007 and this investment is vital for New Zealand’s sustained economic and social development. The New Zealand workforce is becoming more skilled and productive and the priorities set for the tertiary education system for 2008 to 2012 will continue this trend.

More New Zealanders were studying in the workplace in 2007. Over 186,000 trainees were engaged in industry-based training, including 10,800 modern apprenticeships.

In 2007, there were 484,000 students enrolled in formal study programmes with tertiary education providers. Forty thousand of these were international students.

Find the full report, Profile & Trends 2007: New Zealand’s Tertiary Education Sector at:



The report, Profile & Trends 2007: New Zealand’s Tertiary Education Sector, produced by the Ministry of Education, provides a summary of important characteristics and overall performance of the tertiary education sector in 2007.
Key points from the report are:

1. The number of people (domestic and international students) enrolled in formal study programmes at bachelors-level or higher increased by 2.5 percent in 2007. The increase in the enrolments for level 4 certificates [There are 10 qualification titles and levels on the New Zealand Register of Quality Assured Qualifications. The highest achievable level is 10.] (up 14.5 percent), honours certificates and postgraduate certificates (up 13.5 percent), and doctoral study (up 12.9 percent), was offset by slight decreases (less than 1 percent) in enrolments for level 5 to 7 diplomas, bachelors and masters qualifications.

2. Domestic enrolments in level 1 to 3 certificates decreased in 2006 and 2007, after having risen strongly since 2000. International enrolments in level 1 to 3 certificates have declined since 2002. Certificate enrolments fell emphasising the increased focus on the relevance and quality of tertiary education. There were also some students in certificate-level study that were attracted into jobs in 2007 by the strong labour market.

3. In 2007, there were 484,000 students enrolled in formal study and of these 40,000 were international students.

4. From 2006 to 2007, international student enrolments fell by 11 percent in terms of equivalent full-time students, while domestic full-time equivalent students increased by 1.2 percent. The increase in domestic enrolments was driven by significant rises in bachelors- and post-graduate certificate and postgraduate diploma study.

5. More than 186,000 trainees were engaged in industry-based training, including 10,800 modern apprentices.

6. There were 76,700 enrolments in short courses in 2007 and non-formal education such as adult and community education attracted an estimated 251,000 enrolments.

7. Fifty-one percent [These figures are from Statistics New Zealand, Household Labour Force Survey.] of the New Zealand working-age population held a tertiary qualification in 2007, compared to 43 percent in 1997. Between 1997 and 2007, the number of people with a bachelors degree or higher increased from 9.2 percent to 18 percent of the population aged 15 years and over.

8. University research income increased by 17 percent from 2005 and 2006. Research contract income grew by 6.6 percent over the same time.

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