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Maharey sets out clear role for polytechnics

26 September 2000 Media Statement

Maharey sets out clear role for polytechnics

Polytechnics have a vital and distinct role to play in a revitalised tertiary sector, Associate Education (Tertiary Education) Minister Steve Maharey said today.

Excellence and strategic focus must be encouraged at each level of our education system if we are to equip New Zealanders to succeed in the knowledge society of the 21st century. Providing a range of learning styles and course offerings is an important step to ensuring that the widest number of New Zealanders get access to relevant tertiary qualifications.

Speaking to delegates at the Association of Staff in Tertiary Education-Te Hau Takitini o Aotearoa annual conference in Wellington this afternoon, Mr Maharey said that the challenge for the polytechnic sector is to define the distinct contribution they can make within a nationwide system of tertiary education.

"New Zealand's tertiary sector at the end of the 20th century simply is not adequate for the challenges we face as a nation in this new millennium. The need to refocus institutions to better meet the needs of students and the economy is urgent.

"Polytechnics have an exciting future. The Government is clear about our intention to create a cooperative and collaborative tertiary sector that polytechnics and other providers the chance to develop effective learning partnerships.

"Many excellent examples of cooperative relationships involving polytechnics already exist. These include:
 Waikato Polytechnic working with Ruakura and Auckland University to identify a hormone that may be able to increase milk production;
 the creation of Te Tapuae o Rehua by Lincoln University, Christchurch Polytechnic, Christchurch College of Education, the University of Otago and Te Rununga o Ngai Tahu to increase the participation level of Maori students in tertiary education; and,
 Manukau Institute of Technology working with the Otahuhu-based community provider Pacific Island Education Research Centre (PIERC) to creates pathways by which PIERC graduates can continue their studies at the Institute.

"Sharing expertise across the tertiary sector is the way of the future," Steve Maharey said.

ENDS



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