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Widespread support for Government's tertiary plans

The Associate Minister of Education (Tertiary Education), Steve Maharey, said he was pleased with the large number of public submissions received on the Government's plans refocus the tertiary education sector.

Mr Maharey met with members of the National Executive of the Association of Staff in Tertiary Education-Te Hau Takitini o Aotearoa in Wellington today and told them that the Government's plan to establish a Tertiary Education Advisory Commission had been well received. Public submissions on its draft terms of reference and nominations for membership of the eight-member Commission closed on 6 March.

"I'm very pleased with the calibre of the over 250 individuals who have been nominated to serve on the Commission. I will be asking it give me key strategic advice and I am confident that I will be able to bring together a excellent group of people well qualified to perform this task.

"On behalf of taxpayers, the Government is the major funder for tertiary institutions. We have a real interest in ensuring that high standards are maintained and that their course offerings appropriately prepare New Zealanders to succeed in the knowledge society we are creating.

"I received 180 submissions on the Commission's draft terms of reference. There was universal acceptance that tertiary institutions must work together cooperatively and collaboratively to meet the diverse needs our society and economy places on them.

"We viewed with alarm National's experiment to create a tertiary education marketplace. The tertiary sector lacked strategic direction, staff have been increasingly unhappy and the costs to students rose dramatically.

"I expect to be able to announce the membership of the Commission and its finalised terms of reference after full consideration by Cabinet in early April," Steve Maharey said.

Ends

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