Summary: Tertiary Education Strategy Monitoring 2009

Publication Details

This is the first of a set of three reports looking at the implementation of the 2007-2012 Tertiary Education Strategy. This report provides a brief overview of the tertiary education sector as the strategy was being implemented and highlights key issues for achieving the strategy.

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

Date Published: July 2009

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This report is available as a download (please refer to the 'Downloads' inset box).  To view the individual chapters please refer to the 'Sections' inset box.  For links to related publications/ information that may be of interest please refer to the 'Where to Find Out More' inset box.

Section 7: Strong connections between tertiary education organisations and the communities they serve

The strategy notes that building strong connections is a means of achieving improved outcomes. Strong connections require organisations and the communities they serve to have and understand a common purpose for outcomes of tertiary education, to work together responsively and flexibly and to regularly review educational and research needs.

Over the five years to 2007, there has been evidence of increased engagement of tertiary education organisations with communities of interest. This has included:

  • greater cooperation among organisations
  • some development of relationships with schools
  • a steady focus on international connections
  • increased attention to industry and business
  • most organisations developing relationships with Māori and iwi
  • more organisations developing relation-ships with Pasifika communities.

Improving the quality and relevance of education and knowledge has been a core focus for most relationships. The emphasis has varied from increasing participation through to addressing new education and knowledge needs.

Supporting economic transformation has mainly been a focus of relationships with business and industry. There is greater potential to look at the larger role of education and knowledge in leading economic development and looking at the economic outcomes sought by Māori and Pasifika communities.

Supporting social and cultural outcomes is mostly achieved through relationships with Māori and iwi, and Pasifika communities and largely through encouraging greater participation. Social and cultural outcomes for the wider community have not been a strong focus of relationships.

Implementing the strategy …

In 2007, polytechnics were asked to work with education and training providers, industry training organisations, community organisations, Māori and iwi, Pasifika communities and wider communities to pool information and gain a shared view of tertiary education needs, priorities and gaps.  The resulting reports were used to inform the development of investment plans for 2008 to 2010. Initial efforts tended to focus more on producing reports, than on taking on active leadership. There was also a tension related to protecting their own provision at the expense of creating more linkages and cooperation in the region. The process continued in 2008 with a focus on improving the information base and addressing gaps in the 2007 reports. There has been a shift in focus from reporting needs to developing shared understandings of how needs can be addressed through a network of provision.

In their 2008 to 2010 investment plans, all sub-sectors anticipate good progress in this area. An unintended consequence may be that communities become over-surveyed by tertiary education organisations over the next few years, reducing their willingness to engage constructively. The success of the regional facilitation process may be a key measure for mitigating this risk.

Polytechnics are taking an active role in their regions, as described above. They also have some well-focused and strong commitments in the area of engagement with industry.

Universities made a good start in this area, with a focus on engagement, satisfaction surveys and maintaining or increasing accreditation to meet business and industry needs.

Wānanga set out well-focused efforts to increase engagement with iwi and Māori learners.

This is the strongest area of contribution for industry training organisations, with commitments set to increase engagement with industry, as part of their leadership role. Most have included commitments to increasing the proportion of employers that participate in industry training, as well as developing industry strategies for skills development.

Private training establishments and other tertiary education providers anticipate good progress in further developing their relationships with their communities of interest, and in many cases identifying new communities that they wish to engage with.