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Maharey Notes: News And Happenings

Maharey Notes
News and happenings from the Office of Hon Steve Maharey

Volume 2, Issue number 35, 14 March 2001

The Tertiary Education Advisory Commission (TEAC) released Shaping the System, its second report, last Wednesday and is recommending a significant reorientation of New Zealand's tertiary education system.

The report argues that tertiary education marketplace constructed over the last decade is incapable of producing the educational or research outcomes New Zealand needs going in to the 21st Century. Problems in the sector include a lack of responsiveness to the needs of the economy and society, the inability for students to easily transfer between different providers and a pervasive competitive ethic which focuses on attracting greater numbers of students rather than competing internationally on quality teaching and research.

In welcoming the report, Associate Education (Tertiary Education) Minister Steve Maharey said the Government accepted the Commission's central recommendation that it had to actively intervene in the system and steer it in a more strategic direction. The new permanent Commission proposed in the report provides a mechanism to bring together all the various stakeholders ¡V business and government, students and those who work in the sector, and the wider society ¡V to drive tertiary education as a whole system.

Speaking at the first of a series of public forums on the report in Hamilton on Friday, Mr Maharey said the Government is looking seriously at the Commission's proposals and is seeking feedback from industry, educationalists, students and the wider community by April 7. He said the tertiary system is in need of reform and the Government wants to make decisions on the proposals by mid year.

* Shaping the System is available on the TEAC website at www.teac.govt.nz

ƒxƒnthe creation of a new permanent Tertiary Education Commission, a Crown entity governed by a 12-member appointed board, responsible for the whole of the tertiary education system, including adult and community education; colleges of education; industry training organisations; polytechnics; private training establishments; universities; and wananga

ƒxƒnthe introduction of a 'profiling' system to enable the Government and the Commission to steer the tertiary education system. Profiling would be made up of three elements:

- expanded charters, which define the unique contribution each public and private provider makes within the nationwide system
- the introduction of a profiling system, which describes the teaching and research programmes of each provider for which they would receive Government funding on a rolling three-year basis
- a new system of functional classifications which better describes the type of teachings and research undertaken by tertiary education providers

ƒxƒnthe establishment of centres and networks of research excellence, which would channel specific funding to high-class research networks, and thereby assist in the further development of high-quality research capability and capacity

Prime Minister Helen Clark and Associate Education (Tertiary Education) Minister Steve Maharey paid a call on Gillian Anderson, the 500th Modern Apprentice who recently began working towards a National Certificate in Telecommunications. Gillian is employed by the Electrical Training Company and Downer Connect is her current host company.

Helen Clark said today the Government's Modern Apprenticeships programme was playing a critical role in creating the workforce needed for a more dynamic economy. By 2002 Modern Apprenticeships aims to provide employment-based learning for 3000 young people in high-technology areas as well as traditional trades.

* further information about Modern Apprenticeships is available on the web at www.modern-apprenticeships.govt.nz or from Skill New Zealand on 0508 754556

Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey launched a new partnership agreement between Ngati Haua, Work and Income, the Community Employment Group and Te Puni Kokiri last week. The agreement is a key initiative in DWI Waikato regional jobs plan published last December. The project aims to develop the management capacity of 20-25 people from the iwi. Over a 2-3 year they will gain the necessary qualifications to manage Ngati Haua lands. Mr Maharey said the programme was a good example which deserved replicating elsewhere.

Community and Voluntary Sector Minister Steve Maharey launched a new report on civil society in New Zealand at Parliament last week. Mahi Tahi Working Together: Civil Society In Aoteraroa/New Zealand was written for the Commonwealth Foundation's 'Civil Society in the New Millennium' project by ANGOA and CINGOA (the non-indigenous and indigenous non-Government organisation umbrella organisations). The report was researched and written by Sue Bradford (now a Green MP and the party's social services spokesperson), Jenny Thompson and Garth Nowland-Foreman in 1999.

Drawing on an extensive number of interviews with community leaders, academics, politicians and others the report concludes that people became increasingly isolated from decision making processes in recent years. An addendum to the report notes that since the report was researched a Government has been elected and therefore a number of significant policy settings, have changed.

Mr Maharey said the themes in the report had been heard by the parties now in Government during their time in opposition and on the campaign trail in 1999. One of the core commitments of the Labour/Alliance coalition is to rebuild trust in Government. The Government regards rebuilding civil society in New Zealand as one of its most important missions and this flows through its policy programme.

Maharey's Movers came a creditable seventh out of eighty-sex teams in the first Relay for Life supporting cancer research held in Palmerston North at the weekend. The team made up of electorate and Ministerial staff and supporters are firmly in recovery mode this week.

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