Minister releases Tertiary Education Strategy

  • Anne Tolley
Tertiary Education

The Tertiary Education Strategy 2010-2015 released today will ensure the sector is more responsive to the needs of students and employers, says Tertiary Education Minister Anne Tolley.

"The new strategy outlines the Government's priorities for the next five years and how we will achieve them," says Mrs Tolley.

"This Government wants to see more New Zealanders reaching their highest potential and using their skills to make our economy stronger.

"We promised a simpler tertiary education sector that is more responsive to the needs of students and employers, with a stronger emphasis on value for money and performance. The strategy released today delivers on our promise.

"Almost $4 billion is spent on tertiary education every year in New Zealand, and taxpayers have the right to expect that every dollar of this is spent wisely."

The strategy outlines plans to link funding more closely to performance.

It also highlights the importance of supporting high quality research across the tertiary sector, and of building closer ties between research institutions and businesses.

"Investment in research on its own does not drive economic growth. It is how businesses use the research that makes the difference," says Mrs Tolley.

"In the current economic environment, we need to think carefully about the priorities we pursue with the resources we have available."

The Tertiary Education Strategy 2010-2015 can be found at:

Questions and Answers

What is the Tertiary Education Strategy?

  • The document that sets outs the Government's long-term direction and medium-term priorities for tertiary education.
  • The Education Act 1989 requires the Minister for Tertiary Education to release a tertiary education strategy.
  • The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) is required to give effect to the strategy through its funding decisions.

Why release a new strategy now?

The current funding agreements that organisations have with the TEC expire at the end of next year. The new strategy will guide the TEC's decisions about what tertiary education programmes to fund between 2011 and 2013.

This Government is committed to:

  • simplifying the tertiary education funding system;
  • reducing central bureaucracy;
  • strengthening quality and requiring greater accountability;
  • supporting and encouraging students; and
  • improving the interface between schools and tertiary education institutions.

We need a new Tertiary Education Strategy to help make these things happen.

How does the approach to this new strategy differ from the last strategy?

The new strategy is shorter and sharper than the previous strategy. It focuses on the changes that need to take place so that tertiary education is relevant and efficient and meets student and labour market needs.

The economic situation now is very different than in 2006, when the last strategy was released. The Government is facing significant deficits. The priorities in this strategy will help us make hard decisions about how to fund tertiary education over the next five years.

Who is the strategy aimed at?

The strategy is aimed at anyone involved in tertiary education. It is directly relevant to tertiary providers, students and staff, but also to prospective students, their families and the people who benefit from tertiary education such as employers.

What was the process for the consultation?

The Ministry of Education met a range of stakeholders to discuss a draft version of the strategy in October and November 2009. The Ministry also received more than 130 written submissions on the draft strategy, which helped inform development of the final version.

What happens next?

The TEC will prepare its investment guidance based on the Government's priorities in the strategy. The investment guidance helps tertiary education organisations prepare their three-year plans. The plans will be finalised and approved during 2010 and will take effect in January 2011.