Speech: Bradford - Making A Difference
SPEECH NOTES: APNZ CONFERENCE
War Memorial Centre
10am October 31, 1999
"Making A Difference"
Minister of Tertiary education
Hon Max Bradford
In the coming weeks you are
going to hear a lot about the issue of
moving forwards or backward as the election date approaches.
But before the
campaign formally begins in Auckland later today,
thought I¹d take this opportunity to briefly review where the
polytechnic sector has come from and what lies ahead.
I know that some of you have regarded the last
decade and the last two
years in particular as a period of uncertainty.
I have read some of your members expect to
look back on the 1990s as
In one respect I agree.
Yes, the polytechnic sector has faced tremendous change since 1990.
And yes, you have handled the challenges well.
But, I cannot agree with those of you who
believe that polytechnics will
challenges of the future such as fluctuating enrolments
will not be easy.
The last few years have shown that
in the knowledge age the rate of
change is increasing.
And will increase further.
In the global
economy no-one country controls the rules of how
But what we can do is control how we respond and anticipate.
The National Party has a
vision of a Bright Future for your sector, just
as we do for New Zealand.
Indeed, the tertiary sector plays a
crucial part in our Bright Future
strategy for the foreseeable future.
This vision is grounded on a strong
awareness of the way polytechnics
have responded so far and the role you are playing in contributing to
New Zealand¹s economic development.
But polytechnics must
continue to innovate to ensure our tertiary
education system is at the cutting edge of a number of key elements of
the country's success:
It must continue to develop
more productive and
effective relationships with the enterprise and
It must work even
harder to ensure our people are equipped with the
skills they and enterprises need to prosper with key emphasis on making a difference through excellence in standards and outcomes at all
History shows you have already
risen to many challenges in the
During the 1990s the Government
has moved to dramatically increase
participation in tertiary education.
The cap on the funding of student places has been lifted.
More recently the Government has
moved quickly to put in place policies
that foster innovation and flexibility to ensure we can compete with our
neighbours who are already ahead in building knowledge economies.
Polytechnics have responded on both fronts.
Student participation has more than doubled this
decade and is now
relatively high compared to OECD countries.
Approximately 70% of the increase in tertiary
student numbers since 1990
has been women.
been a 60% growth in mature students (over 24 year
reflecting this improved access and the growing requirement for
In the year to
August actual tertiary student enrolments are up 7%
government-funded tertiary student enrolments are up 12.6%.
Actual student enrolments at Wananga increased by nearly 45% in the year.
Colleges of education enrolments are up 9.1% and polytechnics up 4.5%.
Many new courses and
qualifications have developed as polytechnics
adapted to the new conditions.
polytechnics have focused on higher-level
leaving some 800 private providers to provide most of the targeted
training programmes in New Zealand.
Along with colleges of education and wananga,
your organizations are
undertaking research and offering research-based programmes.
Those with growing roles are
reaping the reward of an increase in
result is that students can now move more easily across
with less rigid and artificial barriers and boundaries than in many
In the last
year one polytechnic has successfully sought
Another has merged with a university
and a number of colleges of
education have merged with universities.
Alliances are occurring between institutions
in different sectors (e.g.
Auckland University and Manakau Institute of Technology) and over some
Strategic alliances are taking a number of forms, including:
- different institutions combining to offer joint programmes;
- establishment of new entities,
for example the Bay of Plenty
Polytechnic and the University of Waikato establishing the Tauranga
- partnerships - Aoraki
Polytechnic with Ngai Tahu and Massey
University with the NZ Rugby Football Union;
- joint ventures in research -
Central Institute of Technology
with Midland Health, Massey University with the NZ Dairy Board and NZ
Dairy Research Institute;
- arrangements are also being made
with international tertiary
providers to offer programmes on their behalf, for example the Open
Polytechnic and the Open University of Britain.
These developments have been a
testament to your sector' ability to meet
the challenges of the future head on.
But other countries are moving as fast or faster than we are.
There are huge opportunities
for tertiary providers to develop even
better programmes and stronger relationships with enterprise.
challenge now facing New Zealand as we approach the
millennium is to be able to adapt even more to meet future educational,
economic and social needs.
million Bright Future package announced in August will help
prepare New Zealand to excel in the globalised world.
Very soon, I will be announcing the draft terms of
reference for the
Higher Learning Sector Taskforce and the Enterprise Education Taskforce
for comment by the tertiary sector.
These taskforces will not only study the
best structure of our tertiary
sector for the knowledge age, but will also set the framework for our
future educational success.
I urge you to make detailed
submissions on how you believe the tertiary
sector can best meet the needs of employers, employees and New Zealand
as a whole.
In the new Century we need tertiary
institutions that generate and
better the best educational standards in the world.
Our success will be
based on the skill of our people,
competition and excellence.
Government will provide the framework, but it is largely up
to determine your role for the future, with funding from the Government
and the resources students are providing through their fees.
to your customers - your students - will be an
important issue for the tertiary sector to manage.
The old trick of
blaming the Government for under funding will not
work in future, in part because funding from Government has been rising
in recent years, but also because students are becoming increasingly
aware of their contribution to the finances of universities and
Change will continue and accelerate.
We cannot go forward by driving
with our eyes fixed on the rear view
The polytechnic sector must be flexible as other sectors must.
Yes, there may need to be more mergers.
is up to your organisations and the communities of
that you serve and -- may serve in future -- to decide.
Given the current diversity between polytechnics
and the wide and
diverse needs of their communities, it is almost going to be
short-sighted to think there will be a single role for polytechnics in
the new millennium.
I wish you well for an exciting, if uncertain
future. But one advantage
of uncertainty is that you can shape your own destinies much more than
you could ever do in the past.
That is the challenge for you.
It is the challenge for all of us in New Zealand.