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Investment in tertiary education well monitored


02 July 2015

Investment in tertiary education well monitored

Oversight of the Government’s $2.8 billion investment in tertiary education is sound, an independent review says.

The review, commissioned by the Chief Executives of the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) and the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) and carried out by Deloitte, included the quality assurance, delivery and financial monitoring activities carried out by the TEC and NZQA. It also looked at any improvements that could be made following recent investigations.

TEC Chief Executive Tim Fowler and NZQA Chief Executive Karen Poutasi say the review found the agencies’ monitoring frameworks were designed well, and contained the principal elements expected of a comprehensive framework.

“The review report tells us that essentially we have the right system for the job, and validates the robustness of the quality assurance systems we have in the tertiary education sector,” Mr Fowler said.

The review report recommended some improvements, such as a joint approach to monitoring programmes and to data analysis to better identify known risk factors.

“We have set out a programme of work to address each of the small number of recommendations, to be overseen by a joint risk governance group,” Mr Fowler said.

Dr Poutasi said New Zealand has a strong reputation internationally for offering quality education and taking action where providers are found wanting. “This report, and the improvements that are being implemented as a result, will enhance that reputation,” she said.

The review was commissioned by the two agencies after investigations last year at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi (TWWoA) and the Western institute of Technology at Taranaki (WITT) found a number of issues concerning programme quality and financial accountability.

In 2014 the TEC and NZQA also commissioned a series of focused reviews in tertiary education organisations which had some features in common with WITT and TWWoA. Five of the six found no cause for concern. Work is not yet completed on the final focused review.

Both agencies will also be using pattern recognition software and analytics more extensively to signal possible issues when tertiary education organisation data shows particular features.

ENDS

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