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New legislation to strengthen the education sector

Hon Steven Joyce

Minister of Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment

Hon Hekia Parata

Minister of Education

13 March 2014 Media Statement

New legislation to strengthen the education sector

Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce and Education Minister Hekia Parata welcomed the first reading of the Education Amendment Bill in Parliament today, which will make a number of legislative changes aimed at strengthening the education profession.

The Bill will help the profession meet the challenges and opportunities of modern learning, and promote high standards of safety and accountability for teachers. It will also modernise the governance bodies of universities and wānanga.

Mr Joyce says changes are needed to ensure tertiary education institutions remain effective, capable and well positioned to respond to the changing needs of the New Zealand economy and society.

“New Zealand needs to continue to improve its education system in order to sustain global competitiveness and grow the skills we will need in the future. Changes to the makeup of governance will provide New Zealand’s universities and wānanga with the ability to appoint capable and flexible councils,” Mr Joyce says.

“The Bill also strengthens the New Zealand Qualifications Authority’s enforcement powers to ensure the sector is delivering high quality tertiary education.”

Ms Parata says the Bill will also establish the new professional body, the Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand (EDUCANZ), which replaces the existing New Zealand Teachers Council.

“This has been a three year process of development, drawing on international experience, with widespread consultation beginning in 2010 with the Education Workforce Advisory Group Report, and culminating in the 2013 Ministerial Advisory Group report,” Ms Parata says.

“Teaching needs a strong professional body that provides leadership to, and is owned by the profession. As an independent statutory body, EDUCANZ will use its skills, expertise and authority to provide important leadership and regulation for the teaching profession.

“The Bill will improve teacher registration, enhance reporting requirements, and provide a greater range of options when dealing with disciplinary matters. For example, the Education Council will be able to act on concerns about teacher conduct without relying on a third party to make a complaint.”

The Bill will also:

• Establish a new legal framework for a revised Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students

• Establish an independent contract disputes resolution scheme for international students and their education providers.

“The Government recognises the contribution high quality teaching makes to raising student achievement. The first reading of this Bill is a key part of a comprehensive, successful and sustainable plan to raise achievement for all children and young people,” Ms Parata says.

The Bill was referred to the Education and Science Select Committee for public submissions and is due to be reported back to Parliament in July.

To view the Bill, please visit: www.legislation.govt.nz

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