Part 1: Introduction

Tertiary education institutions: Results of the 2017 audits.

Tertiary education is important to New Zealand's economy and to New Zealanders' personal development and economic wellbeing. The Tertiary Education Strategy 2014-2019 states that:

Skilled, knowledgeable individuals are essential to the success of businesses and other organisations. Access to skilled workers allows businesses to increase the value of their products and services and to pay higher wages. In turn, people are better off, healthier and happier, and New Zealand is a more attractive place to live and work.1

A 2017 working paper prepared for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development on adapting to the changing labour market in New Zealand states that:

Young New Zealanders will need to continue their education to higher levels than in the past and acquire skills that are more highly valued in the labour market. To maintain valuable skills, workers of all ages will need to engage more in lifelong learning. Some will need to retrain when their occupation becomes obsolete.2

Tertiary education includes all types of post-school education and training, such as adult community education, vocational education and training, degree-level study, and research. The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) invests more than $3 billion annually into about 650 tertiary education organisations, including 216 private training establishments and 11 industry training organisations.

This report summarises our audits of the 27 public tertiary education institutions (TEIs) that provide training, education, and research services. These 27 TEIs consist of eight universities, 16 institutes of technology and polytechnics (ITPs), and three wānanga. The quality of teaching and learning at TEIs is outside of the scope of this report.3

Appendix 1 explains the governance and funding arrangements for TEIs.

Wherever possible, data in this report comes from audited financial statements and statements of service performance in the TEIs' annual reports. However, some TEIs do not report separately on domestic and international full-time students, and we have had to calculate those numbers from other published but unaudited information in the TEIs' annual reports.

1: Published by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, March 2014, Wellington.

2: Carey, D. (2017), "Adapting to the changing labour market in New Zealand", OECD Economics Department Working Papers, No. 1420, OECD Publishing, Paris. Working papers. The opinions expressed and arguments employed are those of the author(s).

3: The New Zealand Qualifications Agency uses external evaluation and review (EER) to review the current quality of performance within tertiary education organisations. After each EER, NZQA publishes a report on its website.