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Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Steven Joyce today announced the Government's next steps in improving the outcomes of foundation level tertiary education.
Speaking at the Adult Literacy and Numeracy forum in Auckland this morning, Mr Joyce said the Government would accelerate the targeting of foundation education to those who need it most.
"While we have made some progress in tackling foundation skills like literacy and numeracy in recent years, there are still large numbers of adult New Zealanders who would benefit from achieving a foundation level qualification that embeds literacy and numeracy within it,” Mr Joyce says.
"Currently about half of all study at levels 1 and 2 is by people who already have level 2 qualifications. We want providers to encourage many of those learners to study at levels 3 and 4, and to focus foundation learning on foundation levels.
“We will retain open entry for levels 1 and 2 Te Reo and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) qualifications to ensure people can gain vital language skills.”
Mr Joyce says the Government also wanted to see more innovative approaches to attracting prospective level 1 and 2 learners, and more fees-free provision.
"We ring-fenced in the budget $115 million annually in the SAC fund to levels 1 and 2, and up to a third of that will be allocated to providers by the TEC via a competitive tendering process,” Mr Joyce says.
"For the first time quality private providers will have the opportunity to bid for this funding, and the TEC will evaluate the cost of the provision being proposed as a factor to consider alongside quality and location.”
Mr Joyce says the tendered provision will be for fees-free places.
"About 70 per cent of level 1 and 2 provision is currently fees-free and, it is our intention that more and more of level 1 and 2 provision will be fees free over time. This will ensure every New Zealander who needs access to second chance learning is able to do so," Mr Joyce says.