Tertiary Commission Ushers in New Era
govt.nz - 13 February 2003

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Hon Steve Maharey
13 February 2003

 The launch of the Tertiary Education Commission signals a fresh commitment to equipping New Zealanders with the skills, imagination and learning opportunities to confidently take their place in the world,” says Steve Maharey, Minister responsible for Tertiary Education Commission (TEC).

“The establishment of the TEC is an important milestone in developing New Zealand’s knowledge society and economy. We are witnessing the beginning of a new era for tertiary education in this country.”

The TEC was established under new legislation and is responsible for achieving the vision and objectives set out in the Tertiary Education Strategy. The Education (Tertiary Reform) Amendment and the Industry Training Amendment Act, which passed in December, amend the Education Act 1989 and the Industry Training Act 1992. The new Act underpins the Government’s tertiary reforms by establishing:

- The Tertiary Education Commission
- The Tertiary Education Strategy 2002 / 07 and the Statement of Tertiary Education Priorities
- A System of Charters and Profiles linked to funding approvals
- A new integrated funding framework.

“The Tertiary Education Commission, a crown entity, will work closely with stakeholders across the sector to implement the Tertiary Education Strategy,” says Steve Maharey.

“For the first time ever, all aspects of tertiary education are being brought under the one umbrella – full-time academic study, on-job and work-related training, foundation and community education, distance education and research endeavours.

“The TEC will bring clear strategic direction to the system as a whole. The tertiary education sector has grown enormously over the last 10 years and there is now a great diversity of pathways available to learners. The challenge now is to ensure we have a cohesive and innovative system that encourages learning and uses resources strategically. It is very important to ensure that our research efforts and our student enrolments are concentrated in areas of high performance and high strategic relevance.”

“We want a tertiary education system with a greater sense of connection to important national goals and one with strong links to industry, business, iwi and the community.”

Our tertiary education system of the future is all about the evolution of a distinctive knowledge society here in New Zealand, says Steve Maharey.

“The world is changing rapidly and so too are New Zealand’s demographics. We must act strategically and decisively to ensure that we are an inclusive learning society with opportunities for all to develop their talents and contribute to New Zealand society.

“We are looking to be a society where tertiary learning is seen as a lifelong activity, not a teenage rite of passage. We are looking for a tertiary system which contributes strongly to iwi, whänau and hapu development.

“We are looking to build on our already record numbers in industry training and Modern Apprenticeships and we’ll make sure that all learners are equipped with the foundation skills to participate in the workforce. We must be highly competitive in the fields in which we choose to compete, with a strong focus on research and innovation as key drivers of our economy.

“Our plans for achieving these vital goals are all set out in the Tertiary Education Strategy, which provides a clear picture of what the sector needs to achieve over the next five years. Responsibility for implementing the strategy rests primarily with the Tertiary Education Commission, strongly supported by a broad range of stakeholders in this very dynamic sector.”