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Tertiary proposals a potential circuit breaker

9 March 2001 Media Statement

Tertiary proposals a potential circuit breaker for the productive sector – Maharey

Tertiary reform proposals outlined this week have the potential to significantly boost New Zealand's biological industry sectors, Associate Education (Tertiary Education) Minister Steve Maharey said today.

In Hamilton today, Mr Maharey began a six-centre series of consultation meetings on the proposals contained in the second report of the Tertiary Education Advisory Commission (TEAC) which was released on Wednesday. The TEAC proposes the establishment of a permanent Tertiary Education Commission – which would fully integrate the exisiting industry training, second-chance education and higher education agencies – and a new funding and regulatory framework to allow the Government to actively steer the system.

Mr Maharey said the TEAC proposals would enable the Government to actively match skill needs in the economy with quality, focused education and training.

"New Zealand's tertiary system has a significant role to play in transforming our economy but at present the Government lacks the tools to ensure we can strategically invest in the skills we require.

"Our future as a nation depends on being able to extract new value from our biological industries. This matches the aspiration of the Waikato to be a leader in life sciences.

"We need more skilled scientists, farmers and marketing agents working to innovate our exisiting land and sea-based products to sell to the world. We also need to think through what future contribution the arts and cultural sector can make to the development of our knowledge society.

"The Government is looking seriously at the Commission's proposals and we are seeking feedback from industry, educationalists and the wider community. It is clear that our tertiary system is in need of reform and we want to make decisions on the TEAC proposals by mid year," Steve Maharey said.

Further public consultation meetings are being held in Wellington (March 15), Palmerston North (March 17), Christchurch (March 22), Auckland (March 29) and Dunedin (March 31).


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