Briefing to incoming Ministers
Briefing to incoming Minister of Education
This briefing paper sets out the Ministry’s advice to the Minister on the key challenges and opportunities for education:
- We must support Māori, Pasifika and students with special needs to realise their inherent potential to achieve educational success. This goal requires giving full effect to the Government’s strategies for these groups: Ka Hikitia: Managing for Success, the Pasifika Education Plan and Success for All - Every School, Every Child
- We must be confident that educational expenditure makes the most efficient and effective contribution possible. This means increasing the effectiveness of the education system at all levels to ensure that investment is rewarded with real and sustained levels of achievement.
- We must work on maximising the contribution of the education system to wider Government goals, particularly economic growth.
In order that the education system can meet these challenges we will have to do things differently. Lifting system performance, particularly for target groups, is not reliant on a single action. We will need to use all the means available to us. Change has to be driven at all levels and will require strong and unambiguous leadership from Ministers.
Download the briefing to the incoming Minister of Education [PDF; 828kb]
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Briefing to incoming Associate Minister of Education
This briefing has been prepared for Hon Nikki Kaye, incoming Associate Minister of Education, in February 2013.
The briefing aims to give the Associate Minister an overview of the Ministry’s strategic direction in the context of the Governments’ vision and desired outcomes for education. It also contains an overview of the Associate Minister’s delegated areas of responsibility:
- The role of digital literacy as an enabler of the government's objectives for education
- School property
- School transport
- The structure and evolution of the Ministry to support the education story.
Download the briefing to the incoming Associate Minister [PDF; 462kb]
Briefing to incoming Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment
The tertiary education sector provides all post-school education for New Zealanders, from foundation language, literacy and numeracy education through to vocational certificates, diplomas and research-based degrees. It plays a core role in New Zealand’s economic and social development by providing:
- high quality education to prepare and maintain a relevantly skilled workforce
- high quality research that builds New Zealand’s knowledge base and drives innovation
- international education that contributes to export earnings and strengthens tertiary institutions.
The current state of tertiary education
In 2010/11, a total of $5.4 billion was spent on tertiary education across all votes.
In recent years, efforts to lift the performance of the tertiary education system have focused on raising achievement levels and value for money through:
- strengthening the New Zealand Qualifications Authority’s quality assurance role
- enhancing publicly available information about the performance of the system
- sharpening incentives to lift performance, including performance-linked funding for providers and performance requirements for ongoing student loan eligibility
- moving funding from lower value to priority areas – this has occurred in student loans settings, industry training, student achievement funding and adult and community education
- supporting secondary-tertiary transitions through fees-free tertiary study and more flexible learning pathways to engage and progress students.
As a result of this programme of change, tertiary education provision is more effective than it was five years ago. It is more financially stable, is lifting performance in areas such as qualification completions and student retention, and delivering better value for money for the taxpayer.
Strong fiscal and performance imperatives require a further lift in tertiary education performance over the next term of Government. There are three particular priorities that should shape the agenda for the sector:
First is the drive to enhance New Zealand’s economic growth performance and raise labour productivity. Greater added value in our products and services will require more effective use of high-level skills in our population and more efficient application of new knowledge and ideas. This applies just as much in the vocational and applied technology areas as in the more general areas of academic study. Within this, there will also be specific skill needs arising from the Christchurch rebuild and the needs to rectify water-tight building issues.
Second is the longstanding gap between the performance of Māori and Pasifika learners and that of other learners, and the relatively poor engagement (by international standards) of 15-19 year olds in employment, education and training. The efficiency of the education system and the development of sufficient human capital to drive the economy will be reliant on addressing the needs of groups that are currently being underserved by the system.
Third is the context of fiscal constraint in which education policy will be formed over the coming years. The tertiary sector is unlikely to benefit from significant additional funding over the next five years. Therefore, expenditure will need to continue to be reprioritised from lower priority areas and ongoing enhancements in efficiency will need to be achieved.
Work programme themes
In light of these factors, we have identified the following key themes on which to base the work programme over the next term:
- Enhancing transitions, and strengthening pathways and the relevance of qualifications. This will enable more people to complete tertiary qualifications, reduce youth unemployment and create stronger links between industry and vocational education.
- Raising achievement of Māori and Pasifika learners by addressing system under-performance. Policy settings including the adequacy of targeted funding have not addressed this issue sufficiently well. We recommend that this should be a strong policy priority over the next twelve months.
- Improving the value of the Government’s expenditure on tuition subsidies and student support. Key here will be greater use of data about the employment and other outcomes of study to help inform student and provider decision-making.
- Improving alignment of tertiary spending with the Government’s economic growth goals. This will involve using information provision, purchasing decisions and pricing signals to better match the numbers of students gaining qualifications in broad fields of study with the skills needs of the economy. It will also require achieving more commercial results from research in the tertiary sector and ensuring that promotional, quality assurance and immigration settings support sustainable growth in international education activities.
Download the Briefing to the incoming Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment [PDF; 707kb]
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Briefing to incoming Minister: Student Loan Scheme
This briefing has been prepared by the key agencies involved in the Student Loan Scheme work programme: the Ministry of Education, Inland Revenue, the Ministry of Social Development and the Treasury.
Part one provides an overview of the performance of the Student Loan Scheme (the Scheme).
Part two focuses on key policy challenges and choices facing Government over the next three years in relation to the Scheme.
Part three provides a summary of organisational and operational structures (who does what) and a description of the legislative and governance framework for the Scheme.
In a fee-paying tertiary system, students are required to meet to meet their share of tuition costs upfront. Student loans provide a vehicle for students and their families to spread the cost of tertiary education over time. This allows a wide range of students to gain qualifications and skills that enable them to contribute better to the labour market and economy.
The Government currently subsidises a significant proportion of student loan costs. The current value of new lending is 55.31 cents in the dollar (i.e. the Government writes down 44.69 cents). The Budget 2011 policy changes are projected to improve the value of lending to 56.26 cents by 2015. However, under current policy settings, the Government will write down an increasing proportion of new lending in the medium to long term.
Download the briefing to the incoming Minister: Student Loan Scheme [PDF; 196kb]