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More people succeed in tertiary education

More people succeed in tertiary education

New Zealanders are studying more and gaining more tertiary qualifications, according to the latest annual report on the tertiary education sector released by the Ministry of Education today.

Secretary for Education Howard Fancy said the report, Profile and Trends 2004, on tertiary education confirmed that more people were successfully completing tertiary study. “The government spent $3.7 billion on tertiary education in 2004 and an increasing number of New Zealanders are attaining tertiary-level qualifications,” Mr Fancy said.

Some 128,000 New Zealanders completed recognised tertiary qualifications in 2004, an increase of 16 percent on the year before. Between 2000 and 2004, the number of students completing tertiary education qualifications increased by 86 percent. In addition, last year another 139,500 trainees were engaged in industry-based training, including 7,200 modern apprenticeships.

“Tertiary education is vital for New Zealand’s sustained economic and social development and for building a skilled productive workforce,” Mr Fancy said. “This latest report shows that people with tertiary qualifications are more likely to be in higher valued employment.”

“Trends in tertiary research income also show universities are working harder improving the relevance and connections of their research efforts to business,” Mr Fancy said. “Furthermore, research output has increased significantly over recent years through the Performance Based Research Fund. The focus and quality of research is being strengthened by the development of Centres of Research Excellence.

“The challenge for tertiary institutions now is to encourage more students to higher levels of tertiary education, for institutions to lift the bar in quality, to offer relevant courses, and to accelerate study in areas leading to careers offering young people a better standard of living, while benefiting our economy.”

Find the full report, New Zealand’s Tertiary Education Sector: Profile and Trends 2004, at:


The report, New Zealand’s Tertiary Education Sector: Profile and Trends 2004, produced by the Ministry of Education, provides a summary of important characteristics and overall performance of the tertiary education sector in 2004.

Key points from the report are:

More people than ever before were enrolled in formal tertiary education during 2004 - 455,000 New Zealanders and 50,400 international students.

The number of New Zealanders studying rose 6 percent compared to the year before; international student numbers grew by 7 percent; and the number of industry trainees grew by 10 percent.

More than 139,500 trainees were engaged in industry-based training, including 7,200 modern apprentices.

During the past five years there has been a 90 percent increase in the number of qualifications gained. Some 48 percent of New Zealanders over 15 years had a tertiary qualification in 2004, compared to 38 percent in 1991. Between 1994 and 2004, the number of people with a bachelor degree or higher rose by 119 percent.

Some 40 percent of the New Zealand population aged 25 to 64 years in 2003 had a tertiary qualification, compared with the OECD average of 27 percent.

New Zealanders with a bachelors degree or higher had a median weekly income in 2004 of $731, compared to $537 for people with another type of tertiary qualification, $301 for those with a school qualification and $285 for those with no qualifications.

The tertiary sector produces more than 60 percent of the country’s research output; and the number of Doctor of Philosophy degrees (PhDs) awarded has increased by nearly one third (33 percent) since 1998.

University research income grew by 46 percent between 2000 and 2004 in nominal terms, or about 33 percent adjusted for price movements. Research contract income grew by 54 percent over the same time.

During 2000 to 2003 universities increased their share of the government’s contestable research funding to about $100 million, while also increasing earnings from research contracts with businesses.

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