2 Tertiary Education Strategy

Tertiary Education Strategy

The current TES was published in 2014 and last reviewed in March 2015. It was jointly developed by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment in consultation with the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) and the wider tertiary sector. The TES is the highest-level policy document for tertiary education under the Education Act 1989 (s 159AA).

The TES is informed by the current Government’s broad policy objectives and programmes, as well as its specific policies for the tertiary sector. It is a guide for the TEC and tertiary sector on the Government’s strategic policy direction for tertiary education, plus its current priorities and those over the next three-to-five years. These include economic, social and environmental goals and the developmental aspirations of Māori and other priority groups.

The TES sets the policy context for funding provided by the Government through the TEC, and each TEI is expected to pursue the objectives of the TES. The current (2014–19) TES includes a section on what New Zealand needs from tertiary education.

Over the coming decades, the tertiary education system will need to:
Build international relationships that contribute to improved competitiveness


TEOs need a stronger connection to the world through academic and research links, cross-border education and business relationships. New Zealand needs to strategically extend these relationships to realise new opportunities, especially in emerging markets.
Support business and innovation through development of relevant skills and research

TEOs need to develop the skills and knowledge essential for innovation and business growth. New Zealand needs TEOs and industry to work together more closely, to enhance knowledge transfer and the relevance of the skills and knowledge developed.
Improve outcomes for all




A more prosperous society supports all individuals to achieve their aspirations. Tertiary education can promote prosperity by supporting a swift and sustained recovery from the global economic slowdown and from shocks such as the Christchurch earthquakes. New Zealand needs to ensure that more people, including more people from priority groups, have the transferable skills in demand as employment rises, and that will support them in all other areas of their lives.
Continue to improve the quality and relevance of tertiary education and research

Growing international competition for talent means that New Zealand needs higher quality, more relevant provision from TEOs that offers value for money and improved outcomes for the country.

The priorities outlined in this strategy set out the changes needed to achieve this longer-term direction. The 2014–19 priorities are:

  1. Delivering skills for industry
  2. Getting at-risk young people into a career
  3. Boosting achievement of Māori and Pasifika
  4. Improving adult literacy and numeracy
  5. Strengthening research-based institutions
  6. ​Growing international linkages.

Indicators of success are set out in the 2014–19 TES at the end of the description of each priorirty.