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Labour shift to lifting tertiary quality continues

Hon Trevor Mallard
Minister of Education

1 September 2005 Media Statement

Labour's shift to lifting tertiary quality continues


Labour will significantly lift funding for tertiary level research, and shift away from the 'bums on seats' competitive funding approach, to focus on quality and collaboration between tertiary providers, Education Minister Trevor Mallard announced today.

"Labour is committed to a quality tertiary education and training system that will support New Zealand's economic and social development. We want a system that ensures tertiary education is focused on quality and relevance - for students, communities and employers," Trevor Mallard said.

"The Labour-led government has already taken significant steps to shift funding away from high-quantity low-quality courses to tertiary education that has demonstrable value, and we have stated our commitment to support regional tertiary provision as funding moves to high quality provision.

"In our next term in government, Labour will continue to invest in world class research through the Performance Based Research Fund, lifting the total value of the fund to $250 million per year by 2010.

"Leading up to 2010, new projections of degree and post-graduate student numbers show that the existing PBRF pool will grow to over $112 million (excluding GST) in 2006, $188.7 million will be available in 2007 and $200.5 million in 2008.
"Cumulatively, over the years 2005 to 2008, that’s over $160 million more for research.

"We will also give increased support for Centres of Research Excellence beyond 2008/09, when funding for the current seven centres will be reviewed. Centres that lose funding after this will have a three-year phase down to give them more certainty in planning now."

Other aspects of Labour's tertiary policy include:
 Ensure that degrees are taught mainly by people actively engaged in research
 Review the funding model for certificate and diploma level tertiary provision to ensure that a strong network of viable regional polytechnics is maintained.
 Review long-term funding arrangements for all other tertiary education to ensure that tertiary education providers are better rewarded for quality provision rather than quantity of provision.
 Strengthen the emphasis on retention and completions in accountability and funding arrangements.

ENDS

TERTIARY EDUCATION

Labour’s Vision

Labour believes that every New Zealander is entitled to access quality public education of the highest standard, throughout their lives. Quality education ensures that every Kiwi regardless of who they are and where they come from can achieve their full potential and contribute to New Zealand's society and economy.

Labour is committed to a quality tertiary education and training system that will support New Zealand's economic and social development. Labour wants to ensure that our tertiary education system is focused on quality and relevance. We want to ensure that an integrated approach is taken to tertiary education, and that barriers to participation are eliminated.

Labour's Record

During the last two terms in government Labour has:

- Established the Tertiary Education Commission and developed the Tertiary Education Strategy and Statement of Tertiary Education Priorities.

- Introduced the Performance Based Research Fund to reward excellence and ensure additional investment in universities is based on quality not just quantity.

- Taken steps to address large volume growth in lower value courses, shifting funding to areas of higher relevance and demonstrable value.

- Strengthened training arrangements for those participating in the governance of tertiary education institutions.

- Capped funding for Private Training Establishments and removed access to the ‘capital component’ to balance the important niche role of the private sector with a renewed focus on the core role of public institutions.

- Established seven Centres of Research Excellence to support world-class research.

- Introduced the Tertiary Teaching Excellence Awards to recognise the best teachers.

- Tackled unfairness in the student loan scheme. Now no full-time student and no part-timer on a low income pays interest on their loan while studying.

- Limited fee increases by introducing fee maxima policy.

- Increased parental income thresholds for student allowance eligibility.

- Introduced bonded scholarships to: • encourage study in areas of key strategic importance; • reward our top academic performers; • encourage participation by underrepresented groups.

Labour's Priorities for the next term

Supporting Research

During our next term in government, Labour will:

- Continue to invest in the Performance Based Research Fund, lifting the total value of the fund to $250 million per year by 2010.

- Invest around $8 million in new funding to strengthen areas of university research that are important to New Zealand's society and economy, in response to priorities identified in the 2003 PBRF evaluation.

- Increase support for Centres of Research Excellence.

- Ensure that degrees are taught mainly by people actively engaged in research

Ensuring Quality and Relevance

During our next term in government, Labour will:

- Ensure, through the Tertiary Education Commission, that the tertiary education system fosters the skills that our economy and society needs.

- Implement the results of the review of certificate and diploma level tertiary education provision to ensure that funding moves from areas of low quality to areas of higher strategic relevance and value.

- Review the funding model for certificate and diploma level tertiary provision to ensure that a strong network of viable regional polytechnics is maintained.

- Review long-term funding arrangements for all other tertiary education to ensure that tertiary education providers are better rewarded for quality provision rather than just quantity of provision.

- Ensure through funding and legislative arrangements that the distinctive contributions of the different types of institution are strengthened rather than blurred.

- Strengthen the emphasis on retention and completions in accountability and funding arrangements.

Excellence in Teaching

During our next term in government, Labour will:

- Fund the proposed National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence to promote effective teaching and learning through: • describing the components of effective teaching and learning; • documenting systems and practices (with examples and case studies) required for effective teaching and learning; • providing a clearing house for research on teaching and learning; • networking educators at local and regional levels; and • undertaking research into teaching and learning.

- Support the development and availability of quality professional development options for tertiary teachers and develop ways to recognise this training.

- Continue and complete the strategic review of the tertiary education workforce, using its results to develop strategies to ensure the long term viability of this workforce.

- Introduce an annual sector-wide survey of the views that students enrolled in tertiary education have about the qualifications they are studying.

- Continue to develop and promote the Register of Quality-Assured Qualifications, and strengthen systems of credit transfer and recognition of prior learning.

Collaboration and Cooperation, not Competition

During our next term in government, Labour will:

- Continue to foster and encourage greater collaboration amongst tertiary education providers, with a focus on cooperation rather than competition.

- Move tertiary education funding models to move financial incentives away from the competitive 'bums on seats' model to one that encourages greater collaboration and cooperation while increasing quality and relevance.

- Continue the work of the Universities’ Tripartite Forum to address salary and resourcing issues identified.

- Encourage and support increased collaboration between universities and crown research institutes.

- Amend legislation to ensure that staff and student representatives on tertiary institution councils can fully participate in decision-making (correcting an anomaly between the Education Act and the Local Government Act).

- Continue to support universal membership of students' associations.

Adult and Community Education

During our next term in government, Labour will:

- Implement the new adult and community education funding framework to move away from a model based on 'type of provider' to one based on the type of provision and the learning outcomes achieved.

- Focus funding for Adult and Community Education on the five priority areas: • Strengthening social cohesion; • Strengthening communities by meeting identified community learning needs; • Encouraging lifelong learning; • Raising foundation skill levels; and • Targeting learners whose initial learning was not successful.

- Ensure that adequate resourcing is provided to adult and community education in order to realise the priorities set out in the new ACE funding framework.

Foundation Skills

During our next term in government, Labour will:

- Expand the Adult Literacy Learning Pool and Workplace Literacy funds to ensure that more good education projects get off the ground.

- Build quality and capability in foundation learning provision to make sure the education is effective for the adults taking part.

- Directly target people with low literacy, language and numeracy skills who are not currently accessing learning programmes.

Student Allowances

During our next term in government, Labour will:

- Progressively increase parental income thresholds so that at least half of all full-time students will receive a student allowance.

- Continue to increase parental income thresholds each year by the rate of inflation.

- Increase the personal income abatement rate for student allowances each year by the rate of inflation.

Student Loans

During our next term in government, Labour will:

- Abolish all interest charges on student loans for all students and New Zealand based graduates from 1 April 2006.

- Provide for an amnesty whereby borrowers who return to New Zealand or enter into acceptable arrangements with IRD for repayment during 2006 will not have to pay IRD loan penalties.

- Continue to ensure that loans are only provided to those studying in approved courses, and that loans for fees are only paid where there is evidence the fees have been paid by the borrower.

- Expand the new financial advisory service provided by Studylink to help students make informed decisions about funding their tertiary studies and make them more aware of their financial commitment when they take out a student loan.

Student Tuition Fees

During our next term in government, Labour will:

- Maintain a simplified, capped tuition fee structure to provide certainty as to fee levels to students throughout the duration of their studies.

- Conduct a specific review of the funding arrangements for medical and dental students.

Other Tertiary Student Support

During our next term in government, Labour will:

- Extend the successful Step-Up scholarships in areas of skill shortage.

- Double the number of bonded merit-based scholarships from 500 to 1,000 by the end of 2006, with a view to further increasing that to 1,500 by 2008.

- Investigate the viability of a long-term savings scheme for parents saving for their children’s education.

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