Education Minister Announces New Fund
Friday, 25 Aug 2023
The Government is supporting a new fund to remove barriers and improve opportunities for the most underserved tertiary learners.
The new fund ‘Tūwhitia – Accelerating Learner Success’ – will provide up to $10 million each year to tertiary institutions to co-fund learner success initiatives.
Education Minister Hon Jan Tinetti announced the fund when she visited the Toi Ohomai | Te Pūkenga Rotorua campus this week.
There are great ideas out there to improve learner success, but some tertiary education providers are struggling to get them off the ground with the impact of lower enrolment numbers.
The fund will reduce barriers to establishing such initiatives so learners can experience the benefits sooner. The initiatives selected will be focused on a whole-of-organisation change to better support underserved learners and achieving equity, which in turn will benefit all.
These initiatives could range from support and monitoring programmes to changing the way the organisation is structured and interacts with learners.
For example, some tertiary providers are using data on learners’ engagement in their courses and with the institution to indicate whether or not individual learners are more at risk of not succeeding. With this information, institutions are able to proactively contact the learner to understand what is happening in their life and ensure they get the support they need to be successful. Significant numbers of learners have been helped because of this approach, with institutions beginning to see increased course engagement and completions.
A number of providers are improving course completion rates for Māori and Pacific learners by mapping their learners’ journeys through tertiary education. This enables the providers to identify what works for learners and any personal or organisational issues that could be creating barriers to success. Organisational changes can then be made in how the provider works with, and supports, their learners to ensure their success.
Successfully gaining a tertiary qualification – be it through an apprenticeship, a diploma, or a degree – improves lifelong outcomes for individuals, whānau, and communities. Changes at tertiary providers are needed to ensure those who would benefit most, including Māori and Pacific learners, disabled learners, and those with learning support needs, are supported to be successful.
The Tertiary Education Commission will determine and publish eligibility criteria, funding rules and priorities in the coming months.