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How the sector works

Tertiary sector

As well as eight universities, New Zealand’s tertiary sector includes 16 publicly funded polytechnics and institutes of technology; 3 wānanga; over 240 Tertiary Education Commission (TEC)-funded private training establishments, 12 Industry Training Organisations (ITOs), and a small number of other organisations.

More on TEC's website

How does the sector work?

Universities are autonomous, publicly funded institutions.

Along with institutes of technology, polytechnics, and wānanga, universities are Tertiary Education Institutes (TEIs) under the Crown Entities Act 2004.

TEC funds and monitors their performance. It is accountable to the Minister of Education.

How are universities governed?

Each university is governed by a University Council, as set out the Education and Training Act 2020. Councils consist of 8 - 12 members, including several government appointees, and may include lay, academic and student members who are responsible for overseeing the management and control of the affairs, concerns and property of the University.

The Council is chaired by the Chancellor who is a lay member of the Council.

The Vice-Chancellor is in effect the chief executive of a university, responsible for managing its academic and administrative affairs. The Vice-Chancellor is the employer of all university staff and as an ex officio member of the Council, provides the link that connects university governance (Council) and management functions.

What is the Tertiary Education Strategy?

The key sector document is the Tertiary Education Strategy 2020, which sets out the Government’s long-term strategic direction for tertiary education. It was jointly developed by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

The Strategy applies to all organisations across the wider tertiary sector.

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Key facts