Micro-credentials in New Zealand's education and training system: a consultation paper

Proposed process for introducing micro-credentials

Qualifications and assessment standards both enable learners to gain skills and knowledge that can be credentialed and hence recognised for achievement. Micro-credentials would sit alongside, not replace, qualifications and standards and describe the achievement of a specific set of industry and/or community recognised skills and knowledge.

Qualifications will continue to primarily qualify people for occupations and professions, and assessment standards specify assessment outcomes and performance criteria required for demonstrating achievement of competence.

To enable the quality assurance of micro-credentials and their provision, it is proposed to amend the existing Training Scheme Rules 2012 that apply to New Zealand tertiary education organisations. In the case of Industry Training Organisations, the Education Act (section 251) requirement for an industry training organisation to apply for training scheme approval jointly with a provider will continue to apply to micro-credential approvals.

Universities New Zealand determines its own procedures for approval of training schemes offered by universities.

A training scheme is defined as study or training that '… leads to an award but does not, of itself lead to an award of a qualification listed on the NZQF'.

This paper proposes amending the requirements for training scheme approvals to include micro-credentials. The amendments are outlined in the Appendix for your feedback and include the following requirements for approval of training schemes or micro-credentials:

  • clear rationale for the micro-credential or training scheme
  • clear evidence of industry or community need for the micro-credential or training scheme
  • must be approved by the relevant quality assurance body and be published on the NZQA website
  • can be awarded endorsed by NZQA 
  • introduction of a periodic review and assign a status of current or discontinued to maintain approval.

Implementation of the proposed amendments will depend on the feedback received.

A minimum credit limit is not specified for training schemes. NZQA considers that a minimum of 10 credits is generally needed to achieve the coherent packages of learning and assessment that reflect the characteristics of micro-credentials.

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