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Labour Tertiary Education Policy Builds On Access

2 July 2002

Labour’s Tertiary Education Policy Builds On Access, Excellence And Relevance Platform

Labour will widen eligibility for student allowances as a priority in its second term, Associate Education (Tertiary Education) Minister Steve Maharey said today.

Launching Connecting with Our Future, Labour’s tertiary education policy, Steve Maharey said the government wants to reduce the need for students to borrow from the student loan scheme by progressively raising the parental income thresholds so that more young people become eligible for allowances and fewer need to borrow in order to live.

The policy also includes plans to introduce scholarship and bonding arrangements to address recruitment and retention issues in key professions, and a focus on professional development for tertiary teachers and researchers.

“Tertiary education is now much more affordable as a result of our fee stabilisation and fairer loan scheme policies. Students are now much better off than they were three years ago.

“78,000 borrowers have benefited from the removal of interest for full-time and other low-income students, saving on average nearly $900 each last year. Fees have been frozen for two years and we increased the per student subsidy by 4.5% in the budget so that they be held again next year.

“In the policy announced today we’ve made it clear that we want to continue to make progress for students. In addition to allowance changes, a policy of tuition fee maxima will bring ongoing certainty to students and their families about the cost of study.

“We will work in partnership with industry (and/or the relevant government portfolio) to introduce scholarship and bonding arrangements to address pressing recruitment and retention problems, such as those being experienced in the health sector.

“This term Labour has set in place an ambitious set of tertiary education reforms to ensure the system can undertake the nation building role we need it to. Our policy for this election signals that a high priority, in implementing New Zealand’s first Tertiary Education Strategy, will be to support and develop tertiary staff.

“We will focus attention on the training and development of tertiary-level teachers, and introduce a pool of funding to enable new researchers to begin their research career. We will also initiate a strategic review and plan for the tertiary education workforce.

“In the area of research, Labour will maintain the existing five Centres of Research Excellence and oversee the selection of new centres. These centres will be defined by their excellence, and they will ensure that the tertiary education system is a key enabler of growth and innovation.

“Labour is committed to the introduction of a Performance-Based Research Fund, with additional funding rising to $20 million a year by 2006 on top of funding transferred from the existing degree ‘top-ups’. We already have world-class researchers in our tertiary education institutions. Labour is committed to ensuring that the funding of research does justice to the excellence of their work.

“In government we have done what we said we would do. Our policy making style has been inclusive, and it has been transparent. Labour reaffirms its commitment to working with internal and external stakeholders to build a world-class tertiary education system,” Steve Maharey said.

Note: Labour’s Industry Training policies will be announced on Thursday 4th July.

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