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Unitec applauds passage of Bill to select committe

8 November 2007
Unitec applauds passage of Bill to select committee

Yesterday’s passage of the Education (Establishment of Universities of Technology) Amendment Bill to its second stage has been welcomed by Unitec as an encouraging step forward for tertiary education in New Zealand.

The Education (Establishment of Universities of Technology) Amendment Bill today received its first reading and MPs voted for it to receive a select committee hearing. The purpose of the Bill is to amend the Education Act 1989 to provide for the establishment of a new category of tertiary institution - a University of Technology.

“The Bill will help implement the Government's vision of a tertiary education system that is innovative and responsive to the needs of employers, students and local communities,” CEO Dr John Webster said.

"New Zealand lags well behind most of the developed world in offering students who begin tertiary education in a trades, technical or vocational area the chance to pursue their career-focused studies to the highest levels. Less than 5% make that move, but most Universities of Technology around the world aim to have up to 50% of their students progress, over time, to the higher levels.

"The current system is unfair – particularly for students from lower socio-economic backgrounds, and those who were unable to realise their potential at secondary school level. This limits our capacity to build the advanced skills and know-how we need to transform New Zealand’s economy,” Dr Webster said.

Dr Webster noted that the passage of the Bill is timely given the current tertiary education reforms and that Government is looking to develop a tertiary education system that is more employer-facing and encourages more young people under the age of 25 to achieve advanced vocational qualifications.

“The dual-sector approach of delivering advanced professional and vocational education within a research-informed environment has proved enormously successful overseas," he said.

Ends

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