In August 1999, the National government released Bright Future, Five Steps Ahead. This policy document represents, among other things, a last minute attempt (prior to a general election) to persuade tertiary students to choose particular courses and careers in preference to others. Bright Future is, therefore, aimed at correcting some perceived anomalies in students' course preferences in the highly competitive tertiary education sector favoured by the present government. Less obvious from the political rhetoric surrounding Bright Future is the likelihood that the policy recommendations in the document represent yet another effort to enhance New Zealand's lacklustre domestic and global economic performance. The same can be said of Education for the 21st Century and the Green and White Papers on tertiary education reform, the antecedents to Bright Future. Each of these documents was founded on a variety of unsubstantiated assertions about alleged deficiencies in the tertiary sector. In light of these factors, it is hoped that the New Zealand public will seriously question both the assumptions underpinning Bright Future and the education policymaking process itself
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