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Tertiary education document muddled

Simon Power MP

18 May 2004

Tertiary education document muddled

The long-awaited consultation paper into tertiary education continues to cause confusion in the tertiary sector, says National MP Simon Power.

The Landscape Document, now called the 'Distinctive Contributions of Tertiary Education Organisations: a Tertiary Education Commission Consultation Paper', has been harshly criticised by the Ministry of Maori Development - Te Puni Kokiri, the Ministry of Economic Development, and officials from the Ministry of Education.

The document was designed to generate discussion about the roles and future of organisations in the sector.

"Some of their comments are pretty scathing," Mr Power says.

He has released documents from the three organisations. Excerpts are:

* Blake Shepherd, Ministry of Economic Development: "...we are worried that TEC [Tertiary Education Commission] is forwarding some ideas that are ill-considered ... and that this will put the integrity of the TEC and the wider tertiary sector at risk'.

* Te Puni Kokiri: A section of the Landscape Document "... also comes across as social engineering in nature. The impression it gives is that students should be studying what TEC thinks they should be studying."

* Nick Montague, Ministry of Education: "Overall, the paper still does not give a clear sense of what the TEC is going to do with this document and how they will 'consult' or what the process is for this." And, "The tertiary education system is complex and the application of simplistic rules from the centre is unlikely to deliver the desired results or will prove too slow".

Mr Power says: "This long-awaited document was to guide the tertiary sector or to provide opportunities to guide input into how that is going, and it has been substantially criticised by these organisations.

"The documents reveal that the Government is desperate to distance itself from this shoddy paper. However, Steve Maharey, as minister in charge of the Tertiary Education Commission, must take responsibility for it".


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