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Courses For Int. Students Moratorium Lifted

Universities Lift Moratorium On Non-University Foundation Courses For International Students

New Zealand universities have lifted their moratorium on applications by non-university education providers to run foundation studies programmes that prepare international students for university study.

The decision was reached through a process guided by the NZVCC Committee on University Academic Programmes (CUAP) and its Sub-Committee on University Entrance.

Sub-Committee convenor Professor Luanna Meyer says a set of principles have been adopted that set standards for such programmes which must be met by the applicant providers. The application process builds on NZ Qualifications Authority (NZQA) approval and accreditation processes with the addition of information needed specifically by the university sector. An assessment fee will be charged for this process. Initial approval could be granted for a four-year period only, to enable the provider to report on the progress of at least of two cohorts of students as an outcome quality assurance measure necessary for approval beyond the initial period.

The moratorium was imposed earlier this year after CUAP and individual universities received a number of applications from private providers for recognition of foundation programmes.

Currently no foundation studies programme offered by a non-university provider has received NZVCC recognition across the university sector although a limited number of programmes have been recognized by individual universities. All universities also offer their own year-long foundation studies programmes. Lifting of the moratorium means that no barrier now exists to applications from any non-university provider to offer such programmes.

The withdrawal of the moratorium means that all non-university providers can now apply for recognition of foundation programmes for international students according to transparent standards and processes. The moratorium has been extended, however, with regard to programmes from non-university providers for domestic students intended as an alternative university entrance route, outside of the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA).

Professor Meyer says that the moratorium was originally established as a consequence of information received by the Sub-Committee on University Entrance that non-university providers intended offering foundation programmes to domestic students as well as international students. This was new information that made it important to consult with secondary schools on such programmes as an alternative to NCEA. Wider consultation across both the secondary and tertiary sectors was also sought on the draft principles proposed for components that would be necessary for review and approval of applications.

After the moratorium was imposed in April, consultation resulted in eight written submissions, five from individual secondary school principals and three group submissions on behalf of NZQA, the Post Primary Teachers’ Association and the Directors of University Foundation Studies Programmes.

Based on input from the consultation process, the extension of the moratorium for recognition of non-NCEA foundation studies programmes for domestic school leavers will enable full implementation of the certificate prior to a reconsideration of this issue. Further consultation will be undertaken on alternative pathways to university entrance, consistent with Tertiary Education Commission strategies. In the interim, applications from individuals will continue to be considered on a case-by-case basis by each university.

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