The Government has today outlined plans to reach its target of having a further 14,750 young people reach a higher level of education in the next five years.
Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce and Education Minister Hekia Parata made the announcement at the Wellington Institute of Technology (WelTec) this afternoon.
The Government wants 55 per cent of 25 to 34 year olds to achieve a level 4 qualification - tertiary certificate - or above, and 85 per cent of young people achieve a NCEA level 2 qualification or equivalent, up from 68 per cent, by 2017.
The plans are part of 10 key targets set in the 2012 Budget.
"We know that an individual's income premium increases with each level of qualification they attain. We therefore want to strive for higher levels of achievement for our young people," Joyce said.
To achieve the Level 4 target of 55 per cent, a total of 56,250 students aged between 25 and 34 are needed - 11,000 more than current forecast of which 3500 would be migrants.
Joyce said there where three key areas being looked at, including increasing enrolments across the tertiary sector.
"We've put a real focus on it and we expect the institutions to follow that focus when they are setting their investment plans with the [Tertiary Education Commission]."
He said there would be capacity for the additional enrolments over the next couple of years, as 18 to 23 year olds were moving through the pipeline.
The Government also wanted to improve quality and achievement rates by encouraging the sector to attract those who have left study, and redirect funding from low value courses that do not meet the minimum threshold for course completion.
Joyce said there was a "real opportunity" to boost the number of qualified people through industry training, with the Government earlier this month announcing plans to boost the number of apprentices.
Tertiary providers would also be asked to continue to publish performance results, including course completion and learners' progress.
The requirement has also been extended to cover Trades Academy and Youth Guarantee, which were secondary-tertiary programmes offered to students.
Parata would need just over 7000 additional students to achieve a level 2 qualification to reach the 85 per cent target.
A dedicated taskforce has already been set up within the Ministry of Education to work with schools and other organisations.
Extending programmes such as Trades Academy, introducing skills-based learning, and publishing achievement results were included in the Government's plans.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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