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New rules for Qualifications Framework released

Hon Steven Joyce

Minister for Tertiary Education

30 November 2010

Media Statement

New rules for Qualifications Framework released

The Minister for Tertiary Education, Steven Joyce, has today confirmed the initial operating rules for the recently established New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF), which he says will provide more meaningful information for students and employers.

Mr Joyce says the changes announced today follow a review which found that the New Zealand qualifications system at certificate and diploma level had become complex and difficult to understand for both learners and employers.

“There has been considerable concern that the number of qualifications has made it difficult for learners to select courses and for employers to assess the quality of qualifications and tell if potential employees had the skills and knowledge they need.

“The qualifications review has been designed to cut back on the number of unused or duplicate qualifications and ensure they were more recognisable to potential students and employers,” says Mr Joyce.

It has identified increasing proliferation of certificates and diplomas, with education providers and ITOs often developing duplicate qualifications. In 2009, New Zealand had 5937 registered qualifications, 76% of which were certificates and diplomas, mostly in vocational areas - for example, there were 74 Hairdressing and 96 Tourism Studies certificates.

The introduction of the NZQF in June saw an immediate decrease in the number of current qualifications drop by about 15% with the introduction of a new feature which assigns every qualification a status of current, expiring or discontinued

Mr Joyce says the new operating requirements for the NZQF will deliver results that are beneficial for everyone.

The design of how the new framework will work has been determined by extensive consultation across the tertiary education sector. Key features include:

• All qualifications will reference a graduate profile which will spell out the knowledge, skills and attributes of a graduate, as well as further education and employment pathways.
• A new pre-development approval stage to ensure new qualifications don’t duplicate existing ones.
• Simplified qualification titles with the use of “New Zealand” in titles retained and the use of “National” and provider names phased out over time.
• A requirement for education providers and standard-setting bodies, such as industry training organisations, to formally consult each other when developing qualifications.

NZQA will now begin to work with the wider tertiary sector to simplify the number of qualifications.

“Now that we have the framework in place, it’s time for the real work to begin. The final result will be a system that delivers better results for students, employers and the economy.”

ENDS

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