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Tertiary Education Strategy for Knowledge Society

Media Release

Embargoed until 3.30pm, 31 July 2001

A Tertiary Education Strategy for a Knowledge Society

The Tertiary Education Advisory Commission today released its third report – Shaping the Strategy – a key message of which is that a vital tertiary education system will strongly contribute to the development of the knowledge society New Zealand aspires to. The report builds on the Commission’s first two reports, Shaping a Shared Vision and Shaping the System. It sets out an approach to developing a tertiary education strategy supported by a whole-of-government strategy, by proposing five national strategic goals as a starting point for this development. These goals are:

- Innovation;

- Economic development;

- Social development;

- Environmental sustainability; and

- Fulfilling the obligations of the Treaty of Waitangi.

“The Commission recognises that a diverse tertiary education system will support the achievement of these goals. However, we also recognise that some tertiary education outcomes have higher priority than others”, said Russell Marshall, Chairperson of the Commission.

“The Commission acknowledges that while all New Zealanders have a right to access to lifelong learning, there are constraints on the resources available to the tertiary education system, and therefore we need to prioritise where these resources will be allocated” , said Mr Marshall.

“Shaping the Strategy outlines the Commission’s view on these priorities. They are to:

- build the quality of learning while maintaining high participation rates;

- focus on the ‘top and bottom’ of the system; and

- develop the competencies and attributes and the environment for a distinctive knowledge society.

By focusing on the ‘top and the bottom’ of the system we mean ensuring improved achievement by building bridges into tertiary education for those without basic skills or who are traditionally under represented in tertiary education. It will mean enhancing tertiary research quality and includes a tighter focus on research training, retention of top students in New Zealand and integration between research, industry and the community. The competencies and attributes and the environment for a distinctive knowledge society include creativity, critical thinking, competence with technology, and multidisciplinary or transdisciplinary thinking, learning and research”, said Mr Marshall.

“The Commission has used the national strategic goals as a framework for developing a scorecard that describes goals, objectives and performance measures for the tertiary education system which is necessary to ensure accountability of the system for public funding. We also believe that this can be used to measure the ability of the system to respond to both national and local needs”, said Mr Marshall.

“In addition, we have developed a desirability test that can be used to assess whether the activities of a tertiary education provider or Industry Training Organisation provides sufficient net benefit, and should therefore be funded. Net benefit will be determined by assessing contribution to the national strategic goals and tertiary education priorities, enhancement of economic efficiency and effectiveness across the tertiary education system, and assistance in differentiation and specialisation”, said Mr Marshall.

“The Commission recommends that the process of evaluating the performance of the tertiary education system and the tertiary education strategy and priorities be a key role of the soon to be established Tertiary Education Commission”, added Mr Marshall.

“Shaping the Strategy forms a comprehensive framework for our fourth report which will deal with the implementation of this strategy. The report will cover issues such as funding, quality, accountability and information and will be submitted to the Associate Minister of Education (Tertiary Education) at the end of August 2001”, said Mr Marshall.

ENDS

Contacts: Russell Marshall (04) 472 9723

TEAC Chairperson

Amanda Torr (04) 471 5346

TEAC Manager

Further information on the Commission’s reports and its work programme is available on its web site at www.teac.govt.nz. Copies of the Commission’s reports are also available on its web site.


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