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Minister suggests linking tertiary ed to jobs

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Steven Joyce
Steven Joyce

By Maggie Tait of NZPA

Wellington, July 14 NZPA - Tertiary education funding should be linked to students getting jobs, Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce says.

In a speech at Victoria University today Mr Joyce detailed previously announced plans to introduce performance based funding for tertiary providers of about 5 percent, targeted at course completion and student retention.

"Ultimately, I want to see funding linked to employment outcomes, not just internal benchmarks. This will send a strong signal to students about which qualifications and which institutions offer the best career prospects - and that's what tertiary education has got to be about," he said.

"I'm confident this approach will encourage institutions to provide more support for their students and achieve better results for individual students and the country. Most institutions are doing that now, but there is nothing wrong with stretching it a bit further."

He later told reporters that it would not be easy to measure and there were data collection issues.

"But I think in terms of paying for performance, the first thing obviously is the completion of courses and then there's qualifications, but then, logically how people go once they leave university... and polytech is the most important thing in terms of whether their education has been successful or not."

During a question session Mr Joyce was asked if, when he talked about economic development as important for a brighter future, whether he he had views on what subjects should be taught.

Mr Joyce said there did need to be a focus on employers' demand, but he would not be too prescriptive.

Another change Mr Joyce previously announced was to tighten up on the number of qualifications -- there are 6000. Already this year 900 have been culled. Many were "sitting disused on the register or duplicates or a whole bunch of other things... it was just confusing in terms of having them around.

"The next step, and this is the harder step, is to get the institutions, the industry training bodies working together to merge the qualifications together."

That would affect hundreds of courses but Mr Joyce said with goodwill it could be done.

Over $4 billion went into the tertiary sector every year.

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