AbstractThe philosophy of lifelong learning is not a new concept, and for many decades governments, worldwide, have debated what form a policy and resourcing framework should take that would help people raise their skill levels to meet the challenges presented to society entering the 21st century. New Zealand is no different. The introduction of the Tertiary Education Strategy in 2002 sought to create that framework by developing six strategic priorities that would raise skill levels, improve quality of provision, cater for the more disadvantaged and provide New Zealand with strong economic and social outcomes. In 2005, at the mid-way point of the Strategy’s implementation, this thesis seeks to determine if the Strategy is, in fact, creating a framework that will achieve a ‘prosperous and confident knowledge society’. The focus of this study was the implementation process of the first part of Objective 17: Improved linkages between secondary and tertiary education as a key indicator of Strategy Three: Raising Foundation Skills so that all people can participate in our knowledge society.
The methodology chosen for this research was a qualitative methodology, using an inductive and interpretivist approach. This approach allows patterns, themes and categories of analysis to emerge from the data and allows researchers to remain open to the unexpected, and to change the direction or focus of a research project. Research essentially fulfils three roles: it explores the issues - discovering if something exists; it defines and differentiates the object of the study; and explains it contextually. The research for this thesis involved three secondary schools, three tertiary providers, three government agencies and a document review. The three main data collection methods used were interviews, document analysis and written questions. Data analysis was completed using evaluative research techniques. The thesis is descriptive in presentation.
The results indicated that the application of Objective 17 has improved linkages between tertiary and secondary education, pathways are being created and there is a growing awareness of the necessity for lifelong learning. Nevertheless, the development of a culture of lifelong learning and the ‘knowledge society’ are still someway in the future. Three major themes were identified that could impede the success of the Strategy, however, the vision of a ‘prosperous and confident knowledge society’ is achievable.