The Government asked the Productivity Commission to carry out an inquiry into new models of tertiary education.
The terms of reference suggested that the tertiary education system has “considerable inertia”, with tertiary providers reluctant to be first movers or early adopters in shifting away from traditional models. At the outset of the inquiry, the Commission was mindful of the importance of this alleged problem. If providers in the tertiary education system are inflexible and slow to adapt to changing circumstances, then that carries with it considerable risks for New Zealand and missed opportunities for improvement. As this Overview explains, tertiary education does have considerable inertia, but this is an emergent property of the system rather than a characteristic of tertiary education providers.
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