Give us your thoughts on the Productivity Commission report

Posted By TEU on Oct 13, 2016 |

Sandra Grey and Jo Scott are running meetings over the next couple of weeks with a few branches (Auckland, Hamilton and Christchurch) to discuss the draft Productivity Commission report on New Models of Tertiary Education. Time and resources do not allow them to do more extensive consultation, but if members would like to provide feedback for TEU’s submission on the draft report, they have prepared a summary (below) of the areas they would particularly like comments on.

TEU members can comment on any or all of these and/or can also make their own submissions to the Commission.

Feedback for the TEU submission can be forwarded to Jo Scott by Friday 4 November

Productivity Commission draft report New models of tertiary education

October 2016

Briefing for TEU members


The Productivity Commission has released its draft report New Models of Tertiary Education.

The report rightly recognises that the currently model of government regulation and resulting managerialism creates ‘inertia’ in our system and stifles innovation by staff. The report then suggests major restructuring of tertiary education to make it more ‘market based’ and less centrally controlled (though this would be a market that is still regulated, just with different regulations than currently exist).

There are a number of key areas we think TEU members should consider:

  • How do we ensure that tertiary education provision is student-centred?
  • How do we ensure quality of provision in tertiary education?
  • What processes should be used to decide who should provide what courses where?

(More details on these issues are set out below)

We would also like feedback on the following recommendation:

  • 17 Government should relax its statutory requirements for research-led teaching of degrees.

The full report can be found here:  The report itself is very long – we recommend in particular the overview and the findings and recommendation sections of the report.

Your help in making comment on the following recommendations would also be very much appreciated.

How do we ensure that tertiary education provision is student-centred?

Some of the recommendations centre on a discussion about a Student Education Account which would be set up for each New Zealander to use when and how they choose. We would like to know your views on how to make education more student-centred.

  • Is teaching and learning more focused on student needs if students ‘purchase’ provision?
  • Are there current issues in the way we see students as consumers?
  • What types of things enable you to be more ‘student-centred’ in your work?

Recommendations from the Productivity Commission TEU would particularly like your views on:

R12.5     The Tertiary Education Commission should change the way it measures completions so that provider performance is not penalised if a student transfers to continue learning at a different provider or moves into work.

R12.6     Students should be able to mix and match courses from different providers. The funding and regulatory system should not penalise providers for participating in such arrangements.

R12.22   Government should: extend funding eligibility to students who do not intend to pursue qualifications; remove specifications that set a lower and upper limit on fundable course duration; and remove limits on the use of industry training funding on training at levels 5 and above on the NZQF.

R12.23   Government should abolish University Entrance, leaving all universities free to set their own entry requirements.

R12.29   Government should reform the Student Loan Scheme to be an income-contingent loan scheme that ensures that people are not excluded from tertiary education purely because they cannot borrow against future earnings to fund their education. Future Student Loan Scheme borrowers should be charged interest at a rate that covers government’s costs in running the scheme.

R12.30   The Government should alter the definition of an equivalent full-time student (EFTS) to allow alternatives to the input-based “learning hour” as a basis of calculation.

R12.31   The Ministry of Education should review the funding rates applicable to New Zealand and Managed Apprenticeships, with a view to equalising them.

How do we ensure quality of provision in tertiary education?

  • What can we use to measure the quality of education experiences? What should replace auditing based on completions, retentions, and progressions?
  • How should we set minimum performance thresholds for tertiary education institutions?
  • Should there be minimum standards for tertiary teachers? And who should set them?

Recommendations from the Productivity Commission the TEU would particularly like your views on:

R12.1     Regulatory and purchasing functions in tertiary education appear to be a poor match to government agencies. In implementing this inquiry’s recommendations, government should take the opportunity to design agency forms that provide clarity of function and reduce conflicts of role.

R12.2     NZQA and providers should use ex post tools that assess the actual quality of the tertiary education experience. Such tools can ensure compliance with minimum standards and verify promises made by providers.

R12.3     The Ministry of Education should design a new quality control regime for tertiary education that encourages innovation, takes a risk-based approach, and enforces minimum standards of quality.

R12.7     Government should discontinue Performance-Linked Funding.

R12.8     NZQA should be responsible for defining minimum performance thresholds and monitoring provider performance against those standards. Providers that fail to meet minimum performance thresholds should lose their licence to operate. The thresholds should be clear and any changes publicised well in advance.

R12.16   Providers should develop or adopt frameworks of standards for tertiary teaching, suitable for New Zealand’s tertiary system, for assessing and rewarding the capability and performance of tertiary teachers.

What processes should be used to decide who should provide what courses where?

  • Should there be a national plan of educational provision?
  • Should the market be used to determine what provision should be delivered where?
  • What are the benefits of competition between providers for course delivery? What negative consequences have you seen?

Recommendations from the Productivity Commission the TEU would particularly like your views on:

R12.11   All providers should be able to apply to NZQA for self-accrediting status. Self-accreditation would cover processes such as programme approval and accreditation, qualification monitoring, and evaluation and review.

R12.12   Government should repeal the statutory provisions relating to the Vice-Chancellors Committee in the Education Act 1989. Cross-institution collaboration on course development and quality control for self-accrediting providers should be voluntary and subject to the normal provisions of the Commerce Act 1986.

R12.14   NZQA should update its policies to permit providers to change the location of delivery without prior approval, where those changes do not materially alter the programme from the perspective of students.

R12.24   Educational delivery by institutes of technology and polytechnics anywhere in New Zealand should not require the approval of the Tertiary Education Commission.

R12.25   The Ministry of Education should systematically identify and remove regulatory barriers to new entrants in the tertiary education system, subject to quality standards.

R12.26   Any provider should be able to apply to NZQA to use the terms “university”, “polytechnic”, “institute of technology” and “college of education”. NZQA should grant or reject such applications based on the provider’s characteristics and on whether students or the public are likely to be misled about the provider’s nature or quality.

R12.27   Any tertiary education institution should be able to apply to NZQA to change subsector (e.g., from ITP to university or university to ITP).

R12.28   Government should approve for New Zealand those providers and courses approved in jurisdictions with which NZQA has mutual recognition agreements, or in other jurisdictions where the New Zealand government is satisfied with the quality assurance arrangements.

How to submit or make comments on the report

If you read the report and find other issues to comment on please feel free to do so directly to the Productivity Commission: (web) or (email) or through the TEU (email) . Submissions are due 21 November 2016.

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