Profile & Trends 2013: New Zealand's Tertiary Education System

Publication Details

This is edition 16 in an annual series on the tertiary education sector. They key findings for 2013 were:

  • 418,000 students were enrolled in formal study programmes in 2013, including 48,000 international students.
  • The number of industry trainees remained stable from 2012 to 2013, while the number of apprentices increased for the first time since 2008.
  • People with tertiary qualifications have lower unemployment rates and higher earnings. In 2013, the earnings of people with a tertiary qualification were 62 percent higher than for people with no qualifications.

Author(s): Tertiary Sector Performance Analysis, Ministry of Education

Date Published: November 2014

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This year’s edition of Profile & Trends is the 16th annual survey of the tertiary education system published by the Ministry of Education.  The report contains data on tertiary education trends and changes for the year ended December 2013, unless otherwise stated.  Most of the statistics in the publication are derived from returns provided by government-funded tertiary education organisations to the Ministry of Education and to the Tertiary Education Commission.  Also, a considerable amount of information in this report has come from different agencies and organisations outside the ministry that have responsibilities for tertiary education.  A list of figures and tables is included at the end of the report.

Profile & Trends begins with the tertiary education highlights for 2013.  Chapter 2 describes New Zealand’s tertiary education system and the fourth tertiary education strategy, which was released in March 2014.  The Tertiary Education Strategy 2014-2019 has a sharper focus on connecting the New Zealand tertiary education system to industry, community and the global economy.  In 2014, the Tertiary Education Commission is working with tertiary education organisations on their investment plans, setting out how they will contribute to meeting the government’s priorities for tertiary education (included in the strategy) and the needs of their stakeholders for the 2015 to 2016 investment cycle.

Chapter 3 describes the provision of tertiary education.  Also included this year is information on the quality assurance of tertiary education based on the external evaluation and review reports prepared by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority.

Information on the returns to people who undertake tertiary education is included in chapter 4, while chapters 5 to 10 profile tertiary students, their courses of study and their achievement.  Chapters 5 to 9 show that the demand for tertiary education remains high.  In part, this is due to the improved performance of school students in the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA), coupled with government’s emphasis on having more young people achieve at level 4 or higher on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework.  Also contributing to high tertiary education demand in 2013 was the increasing trend in the number of international students.  An article on extramural tertiary education is included in chapter 5 and another article based on data derived from assessments of adult learners using the Literacy and Numeracy for Adults Assessment Tool is included in chapter 10.

Profile & Trends also contains information on student financial support (chapter 11) and tertiary education funding (chapter 16).  Chapters 12 and 13 discuss the sector’s research performance and information on the funding of tertiary education research.  The financial performance of public tertiary education institutions is described in chapter 14, followed by information on the human resources in the system.  Chapter 17, on the performance of providers at the sub-sector level, covers data provided by the Tertiary Education Commission for the years 2009 through to 2012.

Early enrolment numbers and important events affecting tertiary education in 2014 are commented on at the end of chapter 1 and in the postscript (chapter 18)

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