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National will deliver quality and choice

Bill English National Party Leader

7 July 2002

National will deliver quality and choice in tertiary education

New Zealand can only succeed on the world stage with a quality tertiary education system that offers choice and an understanding of the changing needs of business, says National Leader Bill English.

Releasing National's Tertiary Education Policy today, Mr English says it's vital that students are rewarded for the investment they make in education and for their commitment to the country's growth.

"We need a dynamic tertiary sector that produces quick-thinking graduates with sound vocational skills. The key to this is an education system that focuses on quality, flexibility and choice, not on whether a tertiary provider is publicly or privately owned, or what politicians like.

"National encourages competition in the sector because it gives students choice, and institutions the opportunity to be flexible and innovative. We will work to cut the red tape hampering the sector and reduce centralised Ministry control. We support young New Zealanders making a choice about the courses they do, rather than the bureaucrats.

"All students need to be rewarded for their investment in education and encouraged to stay in New Zealand. National will introduce a "You Stay We Pay" scheme which writes off 10% of the outstanding loan principal for five years, as long as the graduate stays and works in New Zealand.

"Under the current repayment regime, this means a graduate with a $15,000 debt earning $35,000 will see the loan gone in seven years.

"The future growth of the New Zealand economy hinges on the links between tertiary institutions and the business community. We will strengthen these links so providers can better fill the skill requirements of business.

"National will address funding that currently sees some courses favoured over others. We will carry out a review of the EFTS system and separate out the research component from tertiary funding for tuition.

"As New Zealand strives for a world-class economy, the contribution of the tertiary sector cannot be underestimated. National is committed to delivering the innovative, quality system this country needs," says Mr English.


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