Modified Tertiary Education Bill passes 2nd reading

The Education (Tertiary Education and Other Matters) Amendment Bill has been redrafted to better reflect the views of submitters and remove unfair distortions included by the previous government, Education Minister Chris Hipkins says.

“The changes represent this Government’s view of what’s needed for a better and fairer tertiary sector, where the differences between public, private and community providers are clearer and more consistent,” Mr Hipkins said.     

The Bill unanimously passed its second reading this afternoon. It is scheduled to go to the Committee of the Whole next week.

“The reworked Bill revokes the previous proposal that private tertiary providers should, by law, receive the same funding rate as public providers. This would have unnecessarily tied the government of the day’s hands,” Mr Hipkins said.  

“It also sets up a new type of private training establishment (PTE) called a Community Tertiary Education Provider (CTEP).

“CTEPs are not-for-profit community groups providing tertiary education for the public good. This change will allow the public to distinguish them from for-profit providers.”

“The new CTEP replaces the previous proposal in the Bill to rename PTEs as ‘independent tertiary establishments’, a loaded term that reflected the previous government’s dismissive attitude to public education provision.

“The third significant change is to allow for wānanga to apply to use what are called ‘protected terms’, such as university or polytechnic. PTEs can already do it so it is only fair that wānanga can too. This was also the view of the previous government.

“It is important to note however that there is a tough test for applicants to use one of these terms. As part of this process, the Minister of Education will have to consult and consider the national interest,” Mr Hipkins said. 

The Select Committee has also recommended that all other amendments proceed, some with minor changes. These include:

  • higher penalties for falsifying tertiary student records 
  • giving agencies more tools to monitor performance in tertiary organisations, to set conditions on funding, and to impose higher penalties for breaches
  •  giving domestic students the same rights as international students when seeking refunds for enrolments in PTE short courses.

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