Monday, May 28, 2018

Review of NZ vocational education system and ITPs - summary to date

The newly elected NZ Government, a coalition of Labour, Greens and NZ First, had a wide range of items to address when they took up office at the end of last year. One was a review of the entire NZ education system from early childhood to tertiary and vocational education. The last six months has seen a flurry of papers and roadmaps of the various work streams to be completed over the next 6 months to a year.

Since I work and research in the sectors, the review of the NZ vocational education system and the Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPs) are of interest.

The state of review for ITPs is as follows:
- The original 2017 report by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) spells out the challenges including lower enrolments across the sector brought about by lower school leaver numbers over the coming years and high employment across all sectors of the NZ economy. Then the TEC follows on with a roadmap of suggestions for a way forward.

The Minister's view is found in here. With usual hyped up commentary from the media on 'can polytechs be saved?'

-  The scope of the review of Vocational education is provided by Ministry of Education. The scope includes a strong network of provision for all regions; work-based learning that adapts to a variety of needs, a system that is effective for a diverse range of learning; a system that supports, and is supported by industry.

As with most reviews, there are opportunities to try to get things better. However, the challenges presented are large and will require systemic change, in particular, funding structures, to ensure public funding is used responsibly but ensuring NZers are provided access to opportunities for vocational education.

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