The New Tertiary Education Strategy: A Critical Analysis

Author: Jonathan Barrett, The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand

Abstract: The impact of neo-liberalism on tertiary education in New Zealand during the 1990s has been well documented. However, the relevant policies of the centre-left government in the new millennium have been subject to less thorough analysis. Publication of a new Tertiary Education Strategy, following various policy announcements by Dr. Cullen, Tertiary Education Minister, enhances opportunities for such analysis. This article critically analyses the Labour model for tertiary education, specifically considering the likely effects on institutes of technology and polytechnics, business education and students. Certain features of the model (distinctive contributions, three-year funding cycles, and consultation) will have broad appeal. Yet, in moving away from a model that privileged freedom to choose, the possibility of highly centralised control of tertiary education has become real.