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TEAC - Some Useful Steps. More Needed

"The TEAC recommendations point in the right direction. If implemented, they should help rescue and preserve the credibility of much of New Zealand's post-compulsory education and training. More is needed, said Simon Carlaw, Chief Executive of the New Zealand Manufacturers Federation, commenting today on the second TEAC report.

"It is too easy to point to the findings of the Vice Chancellors' Committee that in 1999, the most recent year surveyed, only 14.5% of all graduates emerged with degrees in the physical sciences, mathematics, technology or engineering and to draw conclusions about the implications for a so-called 'knowledge economy'.

"This risks missing several points. TEAC has at last moved in the direction of minimising hierarchical distinctions in the national value attached to university, polytechnic, industry training organisation or second or third chance education. It seems to have been recognised that they are all part of the same pot and need to get closer together, not further apart. Each must be world class; too many are lagging and several would be bankrupt if they were commercial operations.

"It is also critical to recognise that under-performance in vogue subjects at tertiary level is as much to do with woolly curricula and poorly trained teachers at the primary level, and a failure to turn this around later in compulsory education. The focus on basic literacy and numeracy must be stepped up; transparent benchmarking of performance at all levels is necessary despite the provider opposition that has blocked this to date.

Further comments:

Simon Carlaw telephone 04 473-3000

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