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New tertiary strategy targets key challenges

New tertiary strategy targets key challenges

Providing more learners with skills that industries need, building international linkages, strengthening research-based learning, and performing better for at-risk groups and second-chance learners, are all part of the new Tertiary Education Strategy released today.

Speaking at the Higher Education Summit in Auckland, Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce today launched the Tertiary Education Strategy 2014-19. The Strategy sets the Government’s expectations of the tertiary education sector for the next five years.

Mr Joyce says the new Strategy is about achieving faster progress with some of the key challenges facing New Zealand learners in the 21st century.

“Our tertiary education sector must continue to adapt and change to provide the skills and qualifications New Zealanders will need to contribute in the labour market in innovative and competitive ways,” Mr Joyce says.

The Tertiary Education Strategy 2014-19 sets out six strategic priorities designed to encourage a more adaptable outward-facing New Zealand tertiary education system that makes the most of strong links with businesses, communities and the world economy. They are:

• Priority 1: Delivering skills for industry
• Priority 2: Getting at-risk young people into a career
• Priority 3: Boosting achievement of Māori and Pasifika
• Priority 4: Improving adult literacy and numeracy
• Priority 5: Strengthening research-based institutions
• Priority 6: Growing international linkages.

“The New Zealand tertiary education and research system has been responding well to a real focus on achievement over the last five years. Since 2008, there has been a rise in the number of full-time student numbers, and we are seeing more graduates than ever before, and at higher levels,” Mr Joyce says.

“We have also seen more Māori and Pasifika participate and achieve in higher level study. Between 2009 and 2012, the rate of 18-19 year old Māori and Pasifika participating in bachelors level study has increased from 11 per cent to 13 per cent for Māori and from 13 per cent to 16 per cent for Pasifika.”

“The number of apprentices entering industry training is also on the rise with 10,000 new apprentices signing up between March and December 2013, compared to the usual annual new intake of 7,000. And more young people who have not achieved in the classroom are succeeding in the Youth Guarantee scheme with qualification completion rates for learners in these programmes increasing from 48 per cent in 2010 to 64 per cent in 2012.”

Mr Joyce says the challenges now are to more closely link what students are learning with the needs of industry, encourage more innovation and a more international outlook, and ensure that all people have the opportunity and encouragement to gain the skills they need to participate successfully in modern life.

“The sector needs to move quickly to provide more opportunities for students in ICT, engineering, science and agriculture. There is an insatiable demand from employers for graduates in these disciplines as the economy grows,” Mr Joyce says.

“While we have made important progress, we cannot afford to sit back and congratulate ourselves on the results so far. We must harness our momentum and ensure that the tertiary education system is contributing to better and more relevant outcomes for all.”

The Tertiary Education Strategy 2014-19 is available at:www.minedu.govt.nz/TES2014


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