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Tertiary reforms to ‘encourage excellence'

Hon Pete Hodgson
Minister for Tertiary Education

12 December Media Statement
Tertiary reforms to ‘encourage excellence and reward quality’

Under new reforms, tertiary education will make the shift from participation to achievement and focus on the long-term needs of New Zealand, Tertiary Education Minister Pete Hodgson told Parliament last night.

In a speech to move the third and final reading of the Education (Tertiary Reforms) Amendment Bill, Pete Hodgson said the reforms were designed to ensure tertiary organisations were able and motivated to adapt to changing needs.

“These reforms aim to make this key national asset relevant to New Zealand and New Zealanders. They aim to encourage excellence by rewarding quality.

The tertiary sector is made up of universities, polytechnics, wānanga, private training establishments and industry training organisations.

“Labour-led government expenditure on tertiary education will no longer be driven just by “bums on seats”, but will be set as a three-year funding path that takes account of inflation pressures, expected demographic change, student demand and competing priorities within and outside the education sector.”

Funding to universities has increased 18 per cent in the past two years. In 2006 there were 107,251 fulltime students and in 2008 there will be an estimated 111,935. A key aspect of the reforms will be the role of the Tertiary Education Commission in working with organisations to approve and develop their three-year plans, to ensure the qualifications that result are relevant and useful to students and stakeholders, and that taxpayers are getting value for money from their contribution to the tertiary sector. The first three-year investment plans will be announced tomorrow by the Tertiary Education Commission.

“Government funding is an investment; and it needs to provide returns for New Zealand. The new investment-based approach will expect and reward high performance. Along with greater funding and planning certainty, there will be greater responsibility on organisations to deliver the outcomes government is seeking. The new system will be based on high accountability, high trust and low compliance.”

Pete Hodgson thanked the Education and Science Committee for the thoroughness and efficiency with which it considered the bill, and looked forward to the bill passing into law to allow the reforms to take effect from 1 January 2008.


ENDS

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