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Tertiary Reforms Could Give Boost To Canterbury

Tertiary Reforms Could Give Boost To Canterbury Region Plans For Cooperation

Canterbury's plans for greater cooperation between its tertiary education providers could get a boost if tertiary education reform proposals under consideration by the Government are adopted, Associate Education (Tertiary Education) Minister Steve Maharey said today.

Mr Maharey addressed a public consultation meeting this afternoon called to discuss the proposals contained in the second report of the Tertiary Education Advisory Commission (TEAC). The TEAC proposes the establishment of a permanent Tertiary Education Commission – 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 – and a new funding and regulatory framework to allow the Government to actively steer the system.

Mr Maharey said active steering of the system to meet regional skills needs could better ensure Canterbury's industries were able to recruit the highly skilled workers needed.

"Canterbury has maintained a consistently high economic growth rate by bringing together local government and industry in partnership. The Commission's proposals would see the region's tertiary education providers added to the partnership to a much greater extent.

"Skill shortages are becoming an increasing problem in key industries, yet the Government on behalf of taxpayers lacks the ability to deliver more focused teaching and research to meet skill gaps. Similarly the current market-focused model has seen language and other courses disappear which are now no longer taught anywhere in the country.

"The TEAC proposals would give the Government a role in steering the system which has now been missing for over a decade. They would also give further impetus to moves to foster greater cooperation already initiated by Christchurch Mayor Gary Moore.

"The Government is looking seriously at the Commission's proposals and we are seeking feedback from industry, educationalists, students 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.


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