Students given a voice in tertiary education

Published: Sat 30 Oct 2004 03:23 PM
Fri, 29 Oct 2004
New measure gives students voice in tertiary education
Students enrolled in tertiary education will be surveyed about the quality of the programmes they are studying as part of a new measure that encourages a greater focus on helping students to succeed, Associate Minister of Education (Tertiary Education) Steve Maharey said today.
The introduction of the new Performance Measure completes the redesign of the way that universities, polytechnics, colleges of education, wananga and private providers are funded. Previous changes included the regulation of tuition fees, a performance-based research fund, and the introduction of new funds that providers can apply for.
Steve Maharey said the Performance Measure was needed to reinforce a focus on the needs of the learner and to balance the emphasis that the performance-based research fund has placed on research excellence.
"Students invest a lot of money in their tertiary education and these initiatives aim to ensure a greater emphasis on students' achievement so that the funding system can be driven more by learning results and less by enrolments.
"One indicator used in the Performance Measure will be a sector-wide survey, undertaken at qualification level in order to reflect the views of the learners themselves. It will be professionally designed with involvement from the tertiary education sector, drawing on similar models in the United Kingdom and Australia. After being trialled next year, the first formal survey will take place around July 2006, with results available around September.
"The Tertiary Education Commission will also collect information on course retention rates and successful course completions at each funded provider.
"We expect the collection of information on these indicators to have an important signalling effect on the sector. In addition, each year the weakest-performing two public institutions and thirteen private providers will be required to develop remedial action plans. If their results don't improve the following year, a portion of their tuition funding will be placed at risk - 3% in the first year, rising to a maximum of 5%.
"We're aiming for a simple, cost-effective process with a low compliance burden to secure improved outcomes for students."

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