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Draft report on new models of tertiary education

The Productivity Commission has published its draft report on new models of tertiary education and is seeking submissions on the report.  

The Government asked the Productivity Commission to investigate how trends in technology, internationalisation, population, tuition costs and demand for skills may drive changes in models of tertiary education. The terms of reference suggest there is “considerable inertia” in the tertiary education system, with tertiary providers reluctant to be first movers or early adopters in shifting away from traditional models.

A comprehensive engagement process has informed the inquiry’s draft findings and recommendations.

In February 2016, the Commission released an issues paper that looked how the tertiary education system might respond to these trends. In response, the Commission received 102 submissions from interested parties.

The draft report makes 68 findings, 33 recommendations and asks 11 questions
(listed at the end of the report).

Of particular interest are the proposals to:

  • Change funding of tertiary education so that students have control over their own budget (not the costs of enrolling and living but the costs of studying). Called a ‘Student Education Account’.
  • Abolishing university entrance
  • Increasing interest rates on student loans to cover the cost of the scheme
  • Allow international providers to offer courses in New Zealand
  • Unbundle research and teaching
  • Allow institutions to self-accredit
  • Make the system student-focused rather than provider focused e.g. make it easier to transfer to different courses, easier to get recognition of prior learning etc.

Feedback due: Please send feedback to or phone 03 5463941 or 0800 283 848 by 11 November 2016