Although the Tertiary Education Commission was not formally subsumed within last week’s new ‘super’ Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment it will fall under the purview of that ministry and be managed by it, according to the prime minister.
Prime Minister John Key told Radio New Zealand’sFocus on Politics show last week that the commission is a crown entity “so effectively that crown entity will be managed by that new ministry in the same way that occurs with NZTE. It doesn’t get formally merged in because these are [only] government departments that get merged.”
Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment, Steven Joyce told Focus on Politics the challenge with tertiary is it fits both within the economic and education space.
“We are fortunate, if you like that we have a crown entity that is able to move between those two spaces. What we will probably see is a more formal relationship between the economic agency, the ministry of education and TEC. That will be helpful in terms of getting those dual benefits, both on the economics side and the educationeducation side.”
Joyce said the justification for the merger was that he wanted one coherent source of advice rather than several views from different departments.
“At the moment we have significant churn between officials and agencies, and, as somebody who has been given a range of portfolios by the prime minister, we have ranges of officials coming with different views on a number of areas. So… in the skills area we have the Department of Labour, their view, the MED view, the TEC view, and so on and so forth.”
TEU national president Dr Sandra Grey said the commission’s funding advice needs to remain focused on high quality tertiary education.
“The danger is that the commission, under the purview of a ministry focused primarily on economic development, will make decisions against business and economic development criteria rather than quality education and research criteria,” said Dr Grey.