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Strategy heralds new era for tertiary education

14 May 2002 Media Statement

Strategy heralds new era for tertiary education sector

The finalised Tertiary Education Strategy, released today, will ensure that excellence is fostered in the tertiary education sector and it responds more effectively to New Zealand’s economic growth and social development, says Associate Education (Tertiary Education) Minister Steve Maharey.

The Strategy provides a five-year blueprint for a more connected tertiary system and covers all forms of tertiary learning, including foundation skills training, workplace learning and all forms of academic study. It has been drawn up after an extensive period of consultation with stakeholders on a draft form issued last December.

Steve Maharey said there was a strong endorsement of the need for a national strategy that aligns the tertiary education sector with important national development goals.

“Feedback from business, the community and tertiary education providers indicated that our current system lacks important connections and strategic direction. Policies over the last decade have centred on competition rather than capacity-building.

“In the interests of learners and the country as a whole, we must move towards a much more collaborative, outward-looking model of tertiary learning.

“New Zealand needs a system with much stronger partnerships among providers and effective links between tertiary institutions, business and the community. To achieve this all players need a shared vision of the future of tertiary learning and a common understanding of key national goals.

“It is essential that we find ways to ensure that businesses and communities as well as providers and Government agencies are part of the partnership that underpins this Strategy.

“This document looks to a five year horizon, but it is not intended as a static plan. It is the beginning of ongoing strategic dialogue with all those who have a stake in making New Zealand a Knowledge Society,” says Steve Maharey.


The Strategy contains six goals to enhance the performance of the sector and help New Zealand meet future social and economic challenges:

- Strengthen system capability and quality;
- Contribute to the achievement of Maori development aspirations;
- Raise foundation skills so that all people can participate in our Knowledge Society;
- Develop the skills New Zealanders need for our Knowledge Society;
- Educate for Pacific peoples’ development and success; and
- Strengthen research, knowledge creation and uptake.

Each goal sets out specific objectives to strengthen links and partnerships, encourage greater innovation and ensure best practice is widely established throughout the tertiary sector. The aim is to achieve significant progress in a host of areas over the next five years.

A Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) is being established on 1 July to oversee the implementation of the new Strategy. The Commission will be responsible for allocating funding of $1.6 billion to public and private providers according to a new integrated tertiary funding framework (details of which will be announced in Budget 2002).

The first of the annual Statement of Tertiary Education Priorities (STEP) will be released in an interim form in July and formalised in early 2003. The STEP articulates priorities for TEC and tertiary organisations to focus on in order to advance the strategy.

The Tertiary Education Strategy and the STEP will enable the TEC to make choices for increased or decreased investment in particular areas of study.

The Tertiary Education Strategy, 2002-2007, will be available from 9am on Steve Maharey’s website at


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