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Tertiary Strategy to drive economic transformation

Hon Dr Michael Cullen
Minister for Tertiary Education

14 December 2006 Media Statement

Tertiary Strategy to drive economic transformation

The new Tertiary Education Strategy underlines the government's determination to equip the country with the kind of 21st century skills needed to drive economic transformation, Tertiary Education Minister Dr Michael Cullen said today.

"The Strategy, released today, marks significant progress towards a new tertiary funding system that provides a better bridge between the world of learning and the world of work," said Dr Cullen

"If we are to achieve our aims of a higher income, knowledge-based economy that is innovative and creative it is vital that the tertiary education sector plays its part.

The Strategy sets the government's expectations and priorities for New Zealand's tertiary education system over the next five years.

"It brings together both the Tertiary Education Strategy and the Statement of Tertiary Education Priorities as part of our efforts to streamline the direction setting for the sector.

"The Strategy will guide the Tertiary Education Commission's investment decision process in order to maximise tertiary education's contribution to our national goals and priorities.

"It is important that we have a tertiary education sector that allows families young and old to meet their aspirations for education success and one that supports and celebrates our unique national identity."

Dr Cullen said that there was strong endorsement from business, unions, local government, industry, Maori, Pasifika and community groups for a broad and inclusive Strategy.

"Feedback during consultation on the Strategy reconfirms the government's support for a tertiary education sector that makes a unique and valuable contribution to our national development in all dimensions - social, economic, cultural and environmental.

"Today's release shows the commitment to our aims of providing quality, relevant education and training through organisations that are playing to their strengths."
The Strategy broadly expects the sector to contribute to transforming our economy through:

- success for all New Zealanders through lifelong learning

- creating and applying knowledge to drive innovation

- strong connections between tertiary education organisations and the communities they serve.

The Strategy sets out the government's immediate priorities for tertiary education:

- increasing educational success for young New Zealanders - more people achieving qualifications at level 4 and above by age 25

- increasing literacy and numeracy levels for the workforce

- increasing the achievement of advanced trade, technical and professional qualifications to meet regional and industry needs

- improving research connections and linkages to create economic opportunities.

From 2008 the new system will be based on:

- the Tertiary Education Strategy containing the government's overall priorities for the sector,

- three-year plans which will be agreed between individual tertiary education organisations and the Tertiary Education Commission. These set out what the commission will fund and how the organisation will meet the priorities identified in the Strategy.

"The new system will ensure students have confidence in making the choices they make, employers and communities have confidence their needs are being met and taxpayers will be assured they are getting value for money," said Dr Cullen.

The new Strategy can be viewed at:
http://www.minedu.govt.nz/goto/11727

ENDS

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