Tertiary strategy to be key tool in reformed system

Steve Maharey Associate Minister of Education (Tertiary Education)

Hon Steve Maharey
Associate Minister of Education (Tertiary Education)

13 December 2001

Tertiary strategy to be key tool in reformed system

New Zealand's first ever strategy to explicitly connect learning and research in the tertiary education system with the nation's economic and social development needs has been released in draft today.

The Draft Tertiary Education Strategy, 2002/07 sets a new direction and
policy framework for New Zealand's entire post-secondary school education and
training system (comprising adult and community education, industry training,
foundation education, tertiary education institutions and private training
establishments). It 'connects' teaching and research by tertiary providers with
New Zealand's national development goals. When finalised following consultation,
the Strategy will be used by the new Tertiary Education Commission to assist in
setting funding priorities and reporting requirements.

Steve Maharey said New Zealand needs a tertiary system that is outwardly
focused on the world, able to meet the nation's future development needs and is
distinctively 'New Zealand' in its style and tone.

"Our tertiary education system contains many talented people who have the
skills and capabilities to make a major contribution to New Zealand's economic
and social development. However at present the system as a whole does not have
the capability to deliver the lift in human capital development and research

"We will not achieve our national development goals without strong links
between the tertiary system and our society and economy.

"The Tertiary Education Strategy will be the process that will empower those
outside the tertiary system to define their skill and knowledge needs. It is the
key tool that will:

  • achieve greater alignment between the outcomes of tertiary education and the
    achievement of national goals;
  • enable tertiary education to be more quickly shaped by national directions
    and priorities;
  • ensure learner needs are met, and there is continual improvement of quality;
    and, as a result of the above,
  • improve the cost-effectiveness of the system and deliver an increased return
    on our nation's $1.5 billion plus annual investment.

"The draft Strategy is being issued today for public consultation. It
represents the government's 'first cut' and 'high level' proposals on the
priorities and strategies for the next five years. Submissions close on it on 28
February 2002. The finalised Strategy will be issued in April 2002.

"This will in turn lead to a Statement of Tertiary Education Priorities, an
annual document provided for under the Tertiary Education Reform Bill now before
Parliament. The Statement will provide the basis for the Tertiary Education
Commission ro apply the new desirability test for funding.

"The government is very clear that it cannot develop effective policy in this
area alone and we are seeking active engagement over the next few months to
ensure that the finalised Strategy will achieve the changes our system needs,"
Steve Maharey said.

A Connected Tertiary Education

Address at the launch of Draft Tertiary
Education Strategy, 2002/07. Beehive Theatrette, Parliament Buildings,


In 1938, Clarence Beeby was appointed Director of Education. In commenting on
the primary and new intermediate school systems, he wrote, "The cause for
surprise is not that [they] should have lagged along the road but that they
should have gone so far, since no-one has ever quite known where they were

I think the late Dr Beeby would be astonished, 32 years later, if he knew
just how far the tertiary sector had travelled, up many roads and highways. He
would equally be dismayed, I suggest, by the fact that there had been, until
today, no overall sense of strategy and direction, no purposeful linkage of
tertiary education to the broader economic and social national goals. That is
about to change.


In April 2000, the Government established the Tertiary Education Advisory
Commission to give us advice on where the tertiary system should be
going. TEAC has since delivered an impressive series of reports that proposed a
new strategic direction for New Zealand tertiary education and a range of
mechanisms for getting us there.

The Government has made decisions on a number of TEAC's proposals, and two
years work by the Tertiary Education Advisory Commission and Government has now
reached a culmination. Last week I introduced the Tertiary Education Reform Bill
into Parliament. Today I release a draft version of the Government's Tertiary
Education Strategy 2002-7. It is intended to initiate a new phase of dialogue
and debate about the future of our tertiary system to which I now invite you to


Tertiary education is one of this country's major public investments in
building the skills and capability needed for the future. We spend almost 2
billion dollars of taxpayers' money a year on this sector. To maximise the
benefits of this important investment, a paradigm shift is required.

The tertiary education system will no longer be driven largely by the choices
of consumers and providers as it was during the 1990s, when it was too narrowly
focussed on student demand as the primary determinant of resource allocation.

Rather, the focus of the tertiary education system from 2002 will be to
produce the skills, knowledge and innovation that New Zealand needs to transform
our economy, promote social and cultural development, and meet the rapidly
changing requirements of national and international labour markets.

We can all be justifiably proud of the increasing participation and diversity
we have achieved in the last 12 years since the reforms of the late 80s. These
new reforms will not endanger any of the gains. They will bring nation-wide
strategic leadership and direction to tertiary education so that our social and
economic goals can be realised.

The Tertiary Education Reform Bill gives effect to the Government's reform of
the whole tertiary education system. It sets the framework for our tertiary
system to enable it to meet the challenges of the 21st Century and anticipate
and respond to the nation's future skill development needs.

These reforms will lead to a more connected and collaborative tertiary
education sector, which is characterised by world-class excellence, greater
specialisation of investment and less duplication of effort. "Excellence",
"specialisation", and "differentiation" have been the watchwords of our
thinking, and came through clearly as themes in the TEAC findings and

The Tertiary Education Strategy sets the new direction and policy framework
for the tertiary education system.

New Zealand needs a tertiary system that is outwardly focussed, able to meet
the future development needs of our nation and which is distinctively 'New
Zealand' in its style and tone.

We need a tertiary system that is 'connected' to New Zealand's national
development goals, and 'connected' with other sectors of society and the

At the same time, we need the business, enterprise, and industry sectors to
place more value on the tertiary sector and its potential to enable them to
achieve their needs for greater capability and innovation. Our national goals
for a knowledge economy and knowledge society can be achieved best by
interdependent and connected effort across all groups and sectors. Tertiary
education may well underpin our development but we will not achieve "knowledge
economy" status without a whole-economy, whole-society approach.

This is a subtle but significant way of viewing the future role of tertiary
education in the whole New Zealand scheme of things. We are not a big nation, we
DO need to pool our resources and work together - academics, industry, employers,
trainers, trades people - to get to the goals we've set.


Above all, we must ensure that the tertiary system is responsive to the
skill and research needs of business and other external stakeholders
. This
will require stronger linkages and networks between tertiary providers, other
research providers, businesses, social services and healthcare providers, Maori
and Pacific communities.

Those linkages and networks need to be multi-faceted, multi-directional, and
not just flowing out of the tertiary sector itself but always connected to it.

We must improve the tertiary systems' connection to the diverse needs of
. This creates a challenge for providers to deliver and distribute
knowledge and skills in innovative ways. This also implies a shift to more
diverse, but interconnected, learning pathways.

If New Zealand is to make best use of its limited resources, there needs to
be a shift in focus toward providers working together and collaborating
within the tertiary system.
This will require increasing connection
within the system, greater specialisation and reduced duplication

To improve our global connections, tertiary providers must foster links
and relationships with international education providers
so that New
Zealanders can access world-class qualifications, teachers and learning

To respond to emerging strategic challenges, opportunities and threats, we
must build the strategic capacity of the system. This will require
increasingly able and visionary leadership by the governors and managers
of our providers.

To achieve a knowledge society, our system needs to develop future-focussed
strategies. Tertiary providers will need to look ahead and ensure they are
producing the skilled people New Zealand will require in the future, as well as
delivering the skills needed for today.

We can build, confidently and strategically, on the base of participation
achieved since 1989 and take New Zealand to the next level in a competitive
world environment.

The strength of the contribution from the tertiary system will ultimately
depend on its ability to create a common culture of action, creativity,
innovation and optimism.


Government alone cannot meet these challenges.

We need to work together.

To achieve these challenges and shift the focus of our tertiary system to a
more outward-looking direction requires an integrated and strategic effort by
Government, education agencies, industry, the tertiary sector and stakeholders.

If we can make this integrated effort, our tertiary education system will
show, by 2007, these outcomes

  • Better alignment between the nation's investment in tertiary education and
    research and economic and social priorities;
  • A coherent and interconnected system that is strongly linked with industries
    and communities that it serves;
  • Greater alignment between the outcomes of tertiary education and the
    achievement of national goals;
  • Tertiary education more quickly shaped by national directions and priorities
  • Learner needs being met and continual improvement in quality; and
  • Improved effectiveness of the system and increased return on the nation's
    almost $2b pa investment

The Tertiary Education Strategy must address these requirements and you need
to tell us, over the next few months, whether you think we are heading along the
right path.

When you read this draft strategy you will find it sets the scene, provides
you and your colleagues with a focus for your thinking as well as a forum for
discussion. It poses questions which, hopefully, will lead you and others across
the sector to come up with suggestions to guide and fulfil our need for the best
possible confirmed strategy, by around the end of April next year.


The draft Tertiary Education Strategy identifies six strategic
challenges for the tertiary system over the next five years. These are: Slide

  • Develop the Skills New Zealanders need for our Knowledge Society;
  • oEnsure Learning and Research for Maori Development;
  • oRaise Foundation Skills so that all people can participate in our Knowledge
  • oEducate for Pacific Peoples' Inclusion and Development;
  • oStrengthen Research, Knowledge Creation and Uptake in our Knowledge
    Society; and
  • oEnsure System Capability and Quality for our Knowledge SocietyI will
    briefly outline the priorities proposed within each of these strategies in the
    draft document

The first challenge is to 'develop the skills and knowledge New Zealanders
need for a knowledge society'
. This strategy identifies the need for:

  • quality generic skills development in our population which can be measured
    effectively in graduates,
  • closer relationships between employers and education and improved skills
    forecasting information to ensure we develop the people that our economy needs
    at the right time,
  • development of high-level specialist skills in areas important to national
    competitive advantage, and stronger incentives and improved information to help
    students develop the generic and high-level specialist skills they require.

The second challenge is to 'ensure learning and research for Maori

  • This strategy is under development in close consultation with Maori, in
    order to continue the approach endorsed by the Hui Taumata Matauranga.
  • The draft strategy includes priorities that Government has initially
    identified as important for Maori tertiary education. These include improved
    provider responsiveness to, and responsibility for, Maori learners' needs,
    improved retention and improved Maori achievement, particularly in higher levels
    and specialist skill areas of study;

Another challenge is to 'raise foundation skills so that all people can
participate in a knowledge society'
. This strategy prioritises:

  • improving access for people with poor foundation skills,
  • Developing more innovative and flexible teaching methods and support
    services, and
  • Developing new national systems and assessment tools for foundation skills

We must also 'educate for Pacific peoples' inclusion and development'.

  • This strategy re-emphasises the goals and targets agreed by Government in
    the Pasifika Education Plan and is also likely to be refined as a result of
    continuing dialogue with Pacific peoples.
  • Some priorities that have been initially identified focus on improving
    system capability to meet Pacific peoples' learning needs and aspirations,
    improving information about tertiary study for Pacific peoples, addressing
    barriers to participation and achievement and encouraging Pacific students to
    undertake specialist skill development.

A key challenge is to 'strengthen research, knowledge creation and uptake
for a knowledge society'
. This strategy focuses on the research capability
of the tertiary system and prioritises:

  • increased accountability for research, stronger funding incentives for
    rewarding excellent research,
  • encouraging world class clusters of specialisation and networks, improving
    the alignment of tertiary research with key areas of our economy and improving
    knowledge transfer and uptake, and
  • supporting tertiary research staff and budding postgraduate researchers.

Finally, and most certainly not least, we must 'strengthen system
capability and quality for a knowledge society'

This strategy emphasises the fundamental importance of strong system
capability and high quality to the achievement of all the strategies outlined
above. It prioritises:

  • improved strategic capacity and leadership, improved benchmark and
    performance information for governors and managers, improved financial
    performance of TEIs and accountability for public funding,
  • increased differentiation and specialisation, and encouragement of small
    PTEs to collaborate and cluster to lift capabilities, and increased quality and
    venturing in export and import education.


Within each strategy, a number of possible priority actions for
implementation are proposed, as well as possible indicators for
measuring the system's performance. Examples are shown here:


  • Develop the Skills New Zealanders need for our Knowledge Society
  • Measurable increases in the skills of Nzers
  • Participation in formal industry training
  • Ensure Learning and Research for Maori Development
  • Maori Research Capability
  • Overseas reputation of Wananga
  • Raise Foundation Skills so that all people can participate in our Knowledge
  • Maori graduates
  • Significant and measurable improvement in adult literacy indicators within 5
  • Educate for Pacific People's Inclusion and Development
  • Higher participation and achievement
  • Increased number of teachers at all levels
  • Strengthen Knowledge Creation and Uptake in our Knowledge
  • Increased research quality
  • Strength of 2 way relationships
  • Indicators of shorter lags = greater innovation, faster response to skill
  • Ensure System Capability and Quality for our Knowledge
  • Financial strength
  • Resource alignment with national priorities
  • Strength of local & external

Once these strategies and priorities are implemented by 2007, New Zealand
will have achieved a tertiary education system which is effectively connected
with the external stakeholders in industry, enterprise, communities it serves,
collaborating within itself as a system, characterised by excellence in
specialised skill and research areas, and has strong capability in foundation
and core generic skills across the board.

It will be a responsive and responsible system to the learners it provides
education to, and will deliver high quality qualifications to these learners
that are portable across the globe. Our tertiary system will be characterised by
strategic and future-focussed leadership, it will be financially and
academically viable - with a strong, innovative teaching and research workforce,
be made up of numerous strategic partnerships and networks of all kinds.

The Tertiary Education Strategy for 2002 - 2007 is intended to guide us in
achieving this vision. The draft Strategy is not intended to be a rigid
blueprint or Plan, it is intended to be a dynamic and evolving guide to the
development of the system, and to shape on-going dialogue amongst system

We recognise that it may take longer than five years to get there, and in
some areas we may make speedier progress and move onto to new challenges. The
important point is that we all - students, providers, Government, industry,
employers, regions, communities -have a shared sense of where we are going - and
don't find ourselves echoing Beeby's 1938 comment in 2007.


Now to explain the function of the Tertiary Education Strategy. The confirmed
Strategy will guide the activities of all the Government's tertiary education
agencies. The new Tertiary Education Commission will have a major role in
implementing the Strategy.

The new TEC will use this Strategy to shape and drive a dialogue with
providers, which for most providers will be about shaping a new way of thinking
and developing new organisational strategies. Provider charters and profiles
will need to reflect the Strategy.

The Strategy will inform the development of annual tertiary education
priorities by the Government and the development by TEC of criteria for funding.
The tertiary education priorities will shape the sector. They will form the
basis for the approval of charters and profiles for all publicly funded tertiary
education providers and ITOs. The legislation we have introduced to the House
details the principles, contents and approval processes for charters and
profiles. Work on the future funding arrangements is ongoing, and public
feedback on TEAC's proposals in their fourth report is encouraged as an input to
this work.

The final version of the Strategy to be published next April will also
contain a Tertiary Education Scorecard with indicators being progressively
developed to measure progress on each of the objectives of the Strategy. The
Scorecard will allow the sector to constantly assess its own performance and
could serve as a means for you to clear demonstrating the system's importance
contribution in the process of 'nation building'.


Today I am releasing a draft version of the Tertiary Education Strategy for
public debate and feedback. I re-emphasise - this is a draft document. It
represents our 'first cut' and 'high level' proposals on the priorities and
strategies for the next five-years, informed by TEAC's recommendations, several
pre-release consultation workshops, and the policy work we have undertaken since
entering Government.

This document does not yet represent Government policy. It indicates the key
areas for change as we understand them, and we now need to hear your
about the content from your perspective. This is an area where
Government cannot develop effective policy alone. We need the engagement of a
wide range of people and organisations over the next few months to ensure the
final Strategy will achieve the changes our system needs.

As you can see, this draft Strategy is broad and all encompassing, and
considers the challenges and priorities across the entire, diverse tertiary
system and for all its key tasks and capabilities. We hope that many of you will
engage with all of the proposals in the document, but also appreciate that some
of you will bring focused comment on your particular areas of expertise. All
feedback is encouraged and welcomed.

The consultation phase around the Strategy runs until the end of February
2002. We will hold a series of regional workshops as part of the consultation
phase and encourage you to read the draft Strategy and attend the meeting in
your region to discuss your comments with us directly.

Feedback on a set of focused questions included at the back of the draft
Strategy is also welcomed, and we suggest you submit these via our website: www.talktertiarystrategy.minedu.govt.nz.

Once we have received feedback from stakeholders we will rework the document
and a final version of the Strategy will be approved by Government in early
April 2002.

Throughout the consultation period, we will also be following the precedent
set by the Hui Taumata Matauranga, and continuing a partnership approach. The
Government and Maori will dialogue about the priorities for tertiary education
to identify areas of common ground, and these will be reflected in the final
version of the Strategy. Officials will also be specifically engaging with
Pacific peoples to inform the April version of the Strategy.

Once finalised, the Tertiary Education Strategy will go on to become the
keystone of our tertiary system for the next five years. I look forward to
engaging with you all in this important dialogue, and I invite you to begin the
process now, with questions and comments from the floor.