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Governance arrangements for tertiary institutions

Governance arrangements for tertiary institutions to be reviewed

The government’s independent review of the governance of tertiary education institutions will be conducted by Professor Meredith Edwards, Director of the National Institute for Governance at the University of Canberra.

Announcing details today, Associate Education (Tertiary Education) Minister Steve Maharey said the review fulfils a Labour manifesto pledge to identify the measures needed to improve the contribution made by governing councils, while guaranteeing stakeholder representation and democratic processes.

Steve Maharey said that the review would be about building on the basis of what works, and, through good governance developing the capacity for sound leadership within the sector, going forward. ` “In Opposition Labour rejected the commercialisation agenda that was so much in evidence in the Green and White papers of the 1990s. Tertiary education institutions are different, and while it is important that governance and management accords with best business practice, this review is about developing modes of governance that reflect the unique character, and contribution of our tertiary education institutions.

“Our tertiary education system is undergoing a period of significant change, and good governance will be essential in providing a sound foundation. As we develop a system that better meets our economic and social development needs as a nation, and the requirements of the particular regions and communities of interest served by our tertiary education institutions.

“Improved strategic capacity and leadership at both governance and management levels is one of the objectives in the government’s Tertiary Education Strategy 2002-7.

“Professor Edwards is ideally suited to carry out the review. She is an recognised expert in governance issues and has a particular interest in higher education governance.

“She has been recently involved with assisting the Commonwealth Department of Education, Science and Training to look at university governance issues as part of its ‘Crossroads’ review of higher education. Her background includes being the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Canberra and Deputy Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. She has herself served as a ministerial appointee to the University of Canberra’s Council for a number of years.

“Professor Edwards will be assisted by a reference group made up of key stakeholders, including representatives of tertiary institutions, business, unions, and Maori.

“The government has charged Professor Edwards with providing advice on: good governance practice for the New Zealand public tertiary education sector; options for new or changed governance structures that clearly articulate the roles and relationships of Councils, Council members, key committees, Management and Academic Boards; ensure that all the elements of good governance are effectively integrated into a coherent approach by individual institutions; provide for mechanisms to ensure alignment with the government’s tertiary education strategies; consider whether a ‘one size fits all’ approach is appropriate; optimal ways to developing overall governance capability; and a preferred option for governance in New Zealand tertiary education institutions.

“Professor Edwards is visiting New Zealand this week to meet with sector group representatives, and others. The reference group will meet with Professor Edwards in December and in the New Year. She will present her report to the government in March 2003,” Steve Maharey said.

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