Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce announced this week the establishment of the New Zealand Qualifications Framework, to replace the New Zealand Register of Quality Assured Qualifications and the National Qualifications Framework. He said this is the first step towards streamlining the qualifications system following a review of qualifications carried out last year.
“The qualifications review was designed to cut back on the number of unused or duplicate qualifications and ensure they were more recognisable to potential students and employers.”
The introduction of the NZQF will immediately see the number of current qualifications drop by about 15 percent.
Sector representatives have been positive about the changes. NZUSA co-president David Do welcomed the framework and said it would make life easier for current and future students, especially at polytechnics.
Industry Training Federation executive director Jeremy Baker said the new framework is an opportunity for New Zealand to learn from past mistakes. He looked forward to Industry Training Organisations (ITOs) having a role in developing and improving qualifications.
TEU’s ITP vice president Richard Draper also welcomed the changes. Mr Draper did note however that while the announcement mentions the need to respond to the needs of students and industry, it seems to envisage increased input only from industry, presumably in the form of the Industry Training Federation (ITF). “We do feel there is a case for including the voice of students and for other professional bodies in the tertiary sector.”
“We do also note the somewhat ambiguous role of the Industry Training Federation (ITF) and Industry Training Organisations (ITOs),” said Mr Draper. “While these bodies have a role in setting national standards for New Zealand industries, it is important that they do not also become involved in provision of qualifications, lest this compromises their position.”