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New phase in stocktake of education

31 March 2005 Media Statement

New phase in stocktake of education

State Services Minister Trevor Mallard said today that the State Services Commission (SSC) was entering a new phase in the ongoing stocktake of the capability of education sector agencies, following on from previous reviews in education, and reviews of other non-education sectors.

"This education sector review will focus on the respective roles of the Ministry of Education, including its tertiary advisory monitoring unit, the New Zealand Qualifications Authority and Tertiary Education Commission - in relation to senior secondary schooling and tertiary education," Trevor Mallard said.

"The education sector has been under a constant review due to changes and evolution in policy. These have required stocktakes of specific or general governance arrangements at different points in time - to ensure the changes in policy areas are well-supported.

"In previous years SSC has looked at other parts of the education sector, resulting in the Special Education Service being re-absorbed into the Ministry of Education. An SSC sector review has looked at the management of ICT in the education sector, and a separate non-SSC review led to the decision that the Education Review Office would remain as a stand-alone body. The Early Childhood Development (ECD) has also been reabsorbed back into the Ministry of Education, as a result of Review of the Centre work.

"The government’s focus now on quality assurance and value for money in the upper secondary school assessment system and the tertiary sector, make this sector review timely," Trevor Mallard said.

"Sector reviews emerged from the government’s 2001 assessment of New Zealand’s public management system, the Review of the Centre. Their aim is to reduce fragmentation, and improve collaboration across agencies, to build departmental capability and to strengthen the services that members of the public use or rely on," Trevor Mallard said.

"Other sectors and agencies that have undergone reviews include the justice sector, the transport sector, the housing sector, and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Ministry of Youth Affairs. No decisions have been made on other future sector reviews.

"In recent years the secondary and tertiary education system has been going through a period of sustained change, aimed at lifting the quality of teaching and learning, and lifting the education standards of our poorest achievers.

"Concerns have been raised recently about agency capability as these reforms are bedding in. It is now timely to review the roles, responsibilities and capabilities of the lead government agencies in the senior secondary school and tertiary sector.

"This work will not review schools or tertiary education institutions.

"The review is forward looking. In particular, it will undertake a stocktake of the machinery of government and governance arrangements of the three agencies. On the basis of this it will make recommendations to ministers on what work may be needed going forward, to ensure the educational needs of New Zealanders will be met."

The review will look at:
- What are the current roles and responsibilities and are these roles clear for each of the agencies?
- What capability do the agencies require to undertake their roles and responsibilities? Do they have this capability?
- What are the issues and pressures (in relation to the focus of the review) impacting on the agencies?
- Given the issues and the reviews already underway is there a need for any further work to address these issues?
- How effective are the current structures and governance arrangements?
The review process would have little impact on the ongoing work of the three agencies, Trevor Mallard said.

The review team will include officials from SSC, and Treasury and other officials with education sector experience. The team will consult with a small number of senior staff in the agencies concerned, to ensure it has a clear understanding of the dynamics, arrangements and challenges in the senior secondary school and tertiary education systems.

The chief executives of SSC, the Treasury and DPMC will report on the review to ministers by 20 May 2005.

ENDS

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