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Tertiary reforms world leading

5 December 2002 Media Statement

Tertiary reforms world leading – position New Zealand well for knowledge-based future

Major tertiary education reforms passed by Parliament this afternoon are being closely examined by other countries also keen to transform themselves into knowledge-based societies, says Associate Education (Tertiary Education) Minister Steve Maharey.

The Education (Tertiary Reform) Amendment Act and the Industry Training Amendment Act (originally introduced to Parliament as the Tertiary Education Reform Bill) reshapes New Zealand’s entire post-school education system. A new crown entity, the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC), will be established on 1 January 2003 to take responsibility for regulating and distributing $1.9b of taxpayer subsidies each year. New provisions allow industries and communities for the first time to define their training and research needs and then have them met through the funding negotiations the TEC has with universities, polytechnics, colleges of education, wananga, ITOs, private training establishments and adult and community education providers.

Steve Maharey said the reforms have been widely supported by business, union, community and tertiary sector organisations and he encouraged them to retain an active interest as the TEC begins its work to transform the post-school education system.

“These reforms give the wider community considerable say over how our tertiary education system meets their needs. Their active involvement will be crucial to the success of the reforms.

“Specific mechanisms have been introduced to enable those outside the system to articulate their education and research needs and then have them met. It is absolutely fundamental to our development as a knowledge-based society that we get much stronger links between the world of work and the world of learning – and that the tertiary education system also advanced New Zealand’s social development agenda.

“Our industry training system is significantly reformed by the legislation and now gives ITOs the leadership role to identify and address the training needs of their industry.

“Other nations have watched the work of the Tertiary Education Advisory Commission and the subsequent development of this legislation with great interest. I am confident that the reforms will be emulated in many other jurisdictions.

“These reforms represent the culmination of the government’s promise to overhaul our tertiary education and training systems. They were developed in consultation with business, the community and the tertiary education sector. All can take considerable pride in seeing the enabling legislation now passed,” Steve Maharey said.

ENDS

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