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Quality Assurance Arrangements Set Up

7 April 2005

Quality Assurance Arrangements Set Up For Providers Of Adult And Community Education

Quality assurance arrangements have been set up for the providers of adult and community education in New Zealand, the New Zealand Qualifications Authority announced today.

The development of quality assurance arrangements for the providers of Adult and Community Education (ACE) marks a significant milestone for the adult and community education sector, said NZQA Chief Executive Karen Van Rooyen.

The ACE Quality Assurance Arrangements are the result of 18 months of collaborative effort by education agencies, community education providers and quality assurance bodies.

Ms Van Rooyen said development of the new arrangements – which will include quality audits and reviews – acknowledged the important role played by community education in the New Zealand education system.

An estimated 300 providers deliver a wide range of ACE activities to the New Zealand public including 246 schools, 34 tertiary education institutes (which includes universities, polytechnics, colleges of education and wananga) and about 18 Rural Education Activities Programmes (REAPS) and other tertiary education providers.

Ms Van Rooyen said the quality assurance arrangements had been designed to help adult and community education providers enhance the quality of the programmes they delivered and to foster continuous improvement.

"During the consultation phase of the project, many examples of good practice were found among adult and community education providers. Many providers were already meeting the requirements set out in the arrangements."

The new arrangements would help providers to work with good systems which provided a nationally consistent measure of quality for the sector.

"This is important from the point of view of the adult learners who participate in adult and community education. Having quality assurance arrangements in place will give adult learners confidence in the quality of the learning they choose to engage in, regardless of where they live," said Ms Van Rooyen.

"The quality assurance arrangements will also help to protect the interests of the community within which the adult and community education is delivered."

The draft arrangements were successfully trialled with a cross-section of adult and community education providers. This included three schools, two tertiary institutes, two REAPS and a workers' educational association.

The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) will play an important role in the roll-out of the arrangements by working alongside providers during the 27 month implementation period. It has set up a range of support services – including a practical handbook with examples of good practice – and introductory quality assurance training for adult and community education providers.

The NZQA will focus primarily on how the arrangements are implemented by the Education Review Office and the Quality Assurance Bodies. It will also continue to work with the TEC to ensure consistency of expectations amongst providers, auditors and reviewers.

The first audits and reviews will be conducted in August this year.

During the implementation period, there will be opportunities to review the process and respond to feedback from all parties. Once the arrangements are finalised in 2008, adult and community education providers will be required to meet the quality assurance arrangements to be eligible for TEC funding.

The arrangements and a frequently asked question sheet can be downloaded from the NZQA website http://www.nzqa.govt.nz/for-providers/ace/index.html

ENDS

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