Commission suggests change in tertiary strategy

Posted By TEU on Feb 9, 2012 |

The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) could use ‘Compacts’ with individual tertiary education institutions in conjunction with performance linked funding to drive the government’s economic growth strategy.

In its publicly released, but highly censored, briefing to the incoming minister TEC notes that overseas jurisdictions such as Australia and some US states have successfully used ‘Compacts’ – long term strategic agreements between large education providers and central government. These compacts use performance as the basis for funding high-level strategic initiatives, in tandem with more mechanistic funding of “throughput” at an individual student level.

“Such mission based compacts can tie an institution’s strategy and activity with national objectives by defining in advance reward payments for specified achievement rather than micro-managing inputs.”

Towards the end of its briefing TEC suggests the minister may want to develop a new tertiary education strategy (TES) in the next few months, setting out the government’s tertiary education goals, even though the current TES does not expire until 2015. Quickly following that recommendation are three and half pages of briefing that TEC has withheld from the public under the Official Information Act.

Education Directions’ CEO Dave Guerin noted earlier this week that the chance of a new TES seems low.

“We may be reading far too much into the first bullet on p.38 (stating that a new TES would be needed by the end of Feb 2012 to fit the next investment cycle) and some withheld text on p.30 (just after a statement about the current TES). The TEC also wrote that the next few months is ‘an important, time limited opportunity’ for the Minister, so it’s always possible he might use it.”

TEU general staff vice-president Helen Kissell is concerned that information about a series of major decisions to be made about tertiary education by March this year has been withheld.

“Is one of those recommendations the business case for the Canterbury region or wider TES following the Christchurch earthquakes? Who would know? I am concerned about the increasing tendency to use the Official Information Action to suppress what we could reasonably expect to be public information. “

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