Key Takeaways from the TEC’s Statement of Performance Expectations

Claudia Reiners
July 30, 2020

Key Takeaways from the TEC’s Statement of Performance Expectations

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The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC)’s Statement of Performance Expectations sets performance expectations for the tertiary education sector for 2020/21, taking into account the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We look at some of the expectations that are set in this annual report, the performance indicators that are detailed, and how these performance measures are to be evaluated.

The TEC’s Role in COVID-19 Recovery

There is a clear commitment by the New Zealand government towards investing in education and training to provide positive outcomes to all New Zealanders. At the same time, the report acknowledges the impact of COVID-19, and the ways in which this disruption may affect the measures set by the TEC.

Some of the non-financial measures detailed in the report may no longer be relevant, be unable to be met or measured, or may otherwise need to be rethought. The financial measures that are included are done so with the New Zealand government’s COVID-19: Response and Recovery Fund Foundation Package in mind, meaning they should remain relevant and useful.

The TEC also reiterates its commitment to helping learners thrive in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic through short-term, medium-term and long-term responses. This will be done by creating a COVID-19 hub page to assist those who have been laid off in the retail, tourism or hospitality sectors; providing easier access to career planning information; and offering advice on writing CVs, setting up LinkedIn profiles and performing well in remote interviews.

The New Zealand Government’s Priorities for the Higher Education Sector

The three principles underpinning the TEC’s commitments are:

1. Growing the economy and sharing the nation’s prosperity through collaborating with industry

2. Improving the wellbeing of citizens by ensuring all able individuals are earning, learning, caring or volunteering

3. Building a nation that all New Zealanders can be proud of, including building relationships with Māori and responding to Māori issues

The TEC is the government’s primary agency for implementing these objectives through creating an equitable funding system. The TEC’s strategic intentions can therefore be summed up as:

  • Supporting all learners to succeed
  • Connecting educators and employers
  • Increasing research capability and quality
  • Building provider capability and monitoring performance

Reform of Vocational Education and Training

The Statement of Performance Expectations report also identifies seven areas of reform within the vocational education sector. These are:

1. Furthering the Workforce Development Council, which will take the initiative for future-proofing New Zealand’s workforce. All of the WDCs are expected to be fully functional by June 30 2021.

2. Enhancing Transitional Industry Training Organisations to support workplace-based training and delivering training in off-the-job settings. There will be further collaboration between TEC and the Transitional Industry Training Organisations to support learners and employers in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

3. Increasing the role of Centres of Vocational Excellence (CoVEs), which will be responsible for driving innovation in the vocational education sector. The first two pilot CoVEs are expected to be established in July 2020.

4. Developing a unified funding system, which will be responsive to the needs of learners and employers. The funding system will likely be rolled out from 1 January 2023, with some components being implemented earlier to assist with COVID-19 recovery.

5. Greater collaboration with Te Taumata Aronui Engagement to ensure the programme meets the needs of iwi and Māori.

6. Better alignment of transformation initiatives and work plans to achieve reform outcomes, which is being done by establishing cross-agency governance forums.

7. Evaluating operational readiness of TEC and other government departments, which should be completed by September 2020.

The predicted outcome of these seven key changes is the creation of a stronger and more unified vocational education system, one which will be able to meet the needs of the future labour market and deliver the skills that learners, employers and communities require to thrive.

In total, $2.5 billion will be invested into the tertiary sector, and 140,000 apprentices and trainees are expected to transition to new training and education providers.

Equitable Outcomes for Māori and Pacific Learners

The TEC notes that there is still some way to go before there is parity between Māori and Pacific learners, and non-Māori and non-Pacific learners. In order to close these gaps, a systemic, comprehensive shift needs to occur.

The TEC will require tertiary education organisations to submit a learner success plan, and will also set minimum performance improvement targets in order to achieve equity.

In line with this, the TEC is also developing a diagnostic tool that tertiary education institutions can use to assess the efficacy of their learner success measures. This will allow organisations to ensure they are offering a high-quality, world-class education that improves the participation and achievement of all learners. Guided pathways, student-centric systems and data and technology are just some of the areas that will be assessed by this tool.

Funding Breakdown

Some of the areas in which the TEC’s $2.5 billion investment will be distributed include:

  • $75.4 million towards administration and support for the careers and tertiary education systems
  • $8.5 million towards creating an online careers system
  • $49.8 million towards Centres of Research Excellence
  • $10 million towards university-led innovation
  • Almost $2 million towards tertiary tuition and training, with part of this going towards fees free

For a more detailed look into resourcing and funding arrangements, or any other element of the report, view the full Statement of Performance Expectations here.

Quality teaching has never been more important than when recovering from such an event as the COVID-19 pandemic.

The TEC’s annual report clearly outlines areas for reform and investment strategies geared towards bettering New Zealand’s economy and society in light of recent challenges.

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Claudia Reiners
Head of Strategy
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