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E-Learning Advisory Group To Be Appointed

An expert group will be appointed to advise the Government on how New Zealand's tertiary education institutions can take advantage of new learning technologies, Associate Education (Tertiary Education) Minister Steve Maharey said today.

Flexible learning systems have created new access points into learning. Considerable activity is taking place in e-learning throughout the tertiary education system. The Government wants to encourage collaboration among providers and support further e-learning developments.

Mr Maharey said he was seeking 7-9 experts from the tertiary education and ICT sectors who have developed capability and expertise in various forms of flexible learning to work together over the next four months.

"It is vital that all New Zealanders have the opportunity to develop the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in a high technology world.

"E-learning gives potential learners greater flexibility about what, where, when and how they access tertiary education.

"I am appointing a small, expert advisory group to consider the steps we need to take to ensure high standards are met and to identify the barriers preventing the development of e-learning opportunities.

"The Advisory Group and the Ministry of Education are due to report to me before the end of this year, and I have tagged some funding in the coming Budget to begin putting in place the recommendations," Steve Maharey said.

E-Learning Advisory Group

Terms of Reference


Education provided by tertiary education providers is vitally important to New Zealand in building a true knowledge society. The quality of our knowledge and skills base will determine New Zealand’s future success in the global economy and as a cohesive society.

The providers of tertiary education face a number of complex challenges. The development of an increasingly global economy, demographic changes, and rapid technological change are all significant challenges.

Accompanying the rapid technological changes are world-wide developments in e-learning capability. Many governments have recognised the importance of their citizens developing the knowledge, skills and understanding needed for a high technology world, and are investing in the development of e-learning capability. This is also occurring in New Zealand, however, scope exists to better co-ordinate and integrate current developments.

As a first step towards co-ordination and integration, an E-learning Advisory Group is to be established by the Ministry of Education. The Advisory Group is expected to provide advice on ways in which the New Zealand Government can facilitate the development of e-learning capability in our tertiary education sector.

The Advisory Group's Role

The role of the E-Learning Advisory Group is to -

- identify existing e-learning infrastructure and capability;

- advise on how existing e-learning infrastructure and capability can be used to develop the e-learning capability of the tertiary education sector as a whole;

- recommend steps that can be taken to secure co-operation, collaboration and the sharing of resources;

- identify barriers to developing further e-learning capability and means to address these barriers;

- explore mechanisms for ensuring the ongoing co-ordination of e-learning capability and enabling the sector to respond effectively to future learning needs;

- evaluate good practice in flexible teaching and learning;

- recommend incentives for capability and staff development;

- advise on how best to link with existing commercial expertise;

- advise on processes that allow for the identification, monitoring and management of risks that may emerge with developing e-learning capability;

- advise on how e-learning can contribute to the export education industry; and

- develop frameworks for quality assurance and intellectual property rights management in line with international developments.

The Advisory Group’s Task

The Advisory Group is to provide a report to the Ministry of Education by 31 October 2001 that covers the above issues. The Advisory Group will be expected to provide regular progress reports to the Ministry of Education.

The Advisory Group will meet on a number of occasions. It is expected that most interactions between members will be conducted on-line, although in some instances the Group will come together in a physical location.

Context of the Advisory Group’s Work

In carrying out its work, the Advisory Group will be required to have regard to other Government social and economic development initiatives.

Relationship with the Ministry of Education

The Advisory Group is to provide advice to the Ministry of Education on New Zealand’s e-learning infrastructure and capability, and the way forward for developing a strategic direction for increasing the e-learning capability of the tertiary education sector. This advice will be provided by way of a written report by 31 October 2001.

The Ministry of Education will have a role in supporting the Advisory Group’s work. This will include providing secretariat support, providing a venue for the Advisory Group to meet, and organising travel arrangements.

The Ministry of Education will continue to liase with other Government departments on other relevant strategies such as the School ICT Strategy, the Digital Divide Strategy, E-commerce Strategy, E-government Strategy, Export Education Strategy and the Tertiary Education Advisory Commission. The Ministry will keep the Advisory Group informed of significant issues and developments.

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