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August 9, 2010 | by  | in News |
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Joyce Confirms Changes to Tertiary Funding

Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce confirmed on Tuesday last week that tertiary education funding will be linked to universities’ performance.

As reported by Salient in July, Joyce suggested in his speech at Victoria University that changes to the tertiary education sector could include linking funding to employment outcomes and publishing performance information online.

Joyce has now confirmed that from 2012, five per cent of tertiary providers’ funding will based on their performance in the previous year.

Indicators for performance include course completion, qualification completion, progression to higher study and the number of students retained in study.

Joyce says that these changes will encourage universities to improve the performance of students.

“Initially, performance-linked funding is about targeting the outliers—those institutions that stand out as poor performers in certain areas.”

Tertiary Education Union National President Dr Tom Ryan says that the government needs to be careful when implementing a performance-based funding scheme. Ryan says that tertiary providers may be encouraged to exclude students who are less likely to achieve or put pressure on staff with tough academic standards.

“We believe funding needs to support the right type of performance—helping and supporting students to learn, rather than risk New Zealand losing good staff and potential new students.”

The performance indicators do not include employment outcomes, despite Joyce indicating earlier this year that he would like to see universities assessed on student life after study.

“Ultimately, I want to see funding linked to employment outcomes, not just internal benchmarks,” said Joyce at Victoria in July.

A number of tertiary providers, the Tertiary Education Union and student representatives opposed the idea of tying funding to employment outcomes when it was first suggested.
The Tertiary Education Commission will discuss the changes to funding with tertiary providers later this month.

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