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Government committed to strong tertiary education

11 December 2000 Media Statement

Government committed to strong tertiary education system

Information charting the decline of New Zealand's tertiary education system is further proof of the need to move the sector on to a more sustainable footing, says Associate Education (Tertiary Education) Minister Steve Maharey.

Mr Maharey met with university vice-chancellors last week to discuss the position of New Zealand's eight universities.

"In our first year the Government has focused on lowering the cost of tertiary education to students at a cost of an additional $664 million over four years. Now it is time to move on to strengthening the system itself.

"Before Christmas I expect to receive the second report of the Tertiary Education Advisory Commission dealing with how our tertiary education system should be structured. It is clear that significant change will be needed to reconnect the tertiary system and to build greater levels of teaching and research excellence.

"In particular, next year I want to start to identify:
 the distinctive role each institution can make within a nationwide system;
 the particular roles played by universities, polytechnics, colleges of education, wananga and the private providers – as well as considering whether new types of insitutions should be established;
 how we can ensure that particular groups within our population get access to high quality, relevant tertiary education (for example Maori and distance students); and,
 how we should fund the tertiary sector to achieve the goals we set for it.

"Plainly our universities, and the other tertiary providers, have a significant role to play to equip New Zealanders for the knowledge society. The Government is committed to backing them to do so," Steve Maharey said.

ENDS

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