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Government looks to update NZ's tertiary education

By Catherine Knowles, 06 Nov 2015
FYI, this story is more than a year old

The Government is investigating new models of tertiary education that fit better with the changing demands of today’s world.

As a first step, the Government has asked the Productivity Commission to investigate how trends in technology, internationalisation, population, tuition costs and demand for skills may drive changes in models of tertiary education.

The inquiry follows on from the 2014 Innovations in Tertiary Education Delivery Summit, which considered emerging models of tertiary education provision and discussed challenges to shifting away from traditional models.

The inquiry will consider how New Zealand’s institutional and policy settings help or hinder the adoption of new models of tertiary education, as well as looking broadly across what new models there are or what might emerge.

“Tertiary education plays a big part in New Zealand communities society and the economy, with over 400,000 students a year enrolled, and involving annual government funding of around $3 billion,” says Murray Sherwin Productivity Commission chair.

“The Commission will consider the extent to which new models could improve the quality of tertiary education to the benefit of students, the economy and wider society, and improve access, participation and achievement in tertiary education.

“We will take a whole-of-system perspective, focussing on New Zealand’s universities, polytechnics, wānanga and private tertiary providers and seeking input from a wide range of organisations and people with a stake in tertiary education here and overseas,” he says.

The Commission will begin the inquiry with the publication of an ‘issues paper’ that will outline its proposed approach, the context for the inquiry and a list of key questions to be addressed.

The issues paper is expected to be available in February 2016. The Commission will seek submissions from all interested parties and consult broadly to help inform and ground its analysis. Its final report to the Government is due on 28 February 2017.

The Commission has asked the public for assistance in gathering ideas, opinions and information to ensure the inquiry is well-informed and relevant.

Sherwin says it will keep registered participants informed as the inquiry progresses.

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