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September 13, 2010 | by  | in News |
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Tertiary Providers Face Public Scrutiny

Official rankings and a variety of performance statistics of New Zealand’s tertiary institutions are now available online to the public.

The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) published performance data online last Wednesday, in accordance with the government’s changes to the tertiary sector.

As reported by Salient, in his speech at Victoria in July, Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce said that these statistics will help students better choose their tertiary education provider and will also act as an incentive for tertiary institutions to improve their reputation.

“This information, along with what’s already out there, will empower students’ decisions with the best possible information about course quality, cost, academic requirements and the likely impact on future career prospects.”

The TEC has also indicated that these figures may be used to determine distribution of funding, with poorly-performing institutions facing funding cuts if they fail to improve, the New Zealand Herald reported.

Tertiary providers are assessed across four main categories; course completion, qualification completion, progression to higher level study and retention of students in study.

Universities have performed well overall, according to the results, with high figures of course and qualification completion and course continuation.

Victoria University performed relatively well, ranking at or just below average figures for New Zealand universities.

The Chair of Universities New Zealand—Te Pokai Tara Derek McCormack says that the impressive results of universities in the league tables reflect well on the performance of New Zealand’s universities.

“These results demonstrate that our universities are delivering value for money.”

The results haven’t been as readily accepted by everyone in the tertiary sector.

New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) says that the results should be treated with caution given, gaps in figures and the limited amount of information provided.

“We note the government’s intention in providing more information to students and improving accountability of tertiary institutions for public funding, and believe that these are appropriate expectations of the sector,” says Pene Delaney, NZUSA Co-President.

“However, we know that students use many different sources and consider many different factors when making decisions about where to study, and the statistics released today only provide a very small part of the picture, and are therefore not as useful as they potentially could be.”

The TEC has also recognised the limitations of the online figures, and encourage students to conduct further research when choosing a tertiary education provider.

“It is important to note that this information is just one of many sources of information available to students as they make decisions about where to undertake their tertiary study,” said Dr Roy Sharp, TEC Chief Executive.

“Students are encouraged to look at provider websites for more information.”

Results can be viewed online.

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