Pacific Regional Initiative on Qualifications Recognition

10 Aug 2021

New Zealand has engaged in a new programme with nine Pacific Island countries to foster their long-term economic development and support the future of labour mobility. This programme is the outcome of negotiations in recent years to upgrade the Pacific Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement, known as PACER Plus.

New Zealand has agreed to work on this issue with Pacific regional agencies and Pacific Island countries as part of its commitment to ratifying the Trade Agreement. The nine Pacific Island countries involved are the Cooks Islands, Nauru, Niue, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

The work is being led by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA), in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign affairs and Trade (MFAT).  During the first phase of the programme which lasts until December 2021, NZQA and MFAT will work with Pacific Regional Agencies and the Pacific Island governments to co-design and plan the activities needed to solve the existing challenges. NZQA is engaged in this project in our capacity as leaders in making educational connections and because our method of operating is highly regarded in the region.

Harmonising qualifications recognition processes across the region will facilitate the movement of Pacific peoples for employment, which is a key long-term objective of the programme. Improving the ability for skilled Pacific people to access a larger job market with enhanced opportunities will help build more successful Pacific communities.

This project also aims to help qualified Pacific people share their expertise and gain experience across the Pacific region. The sharing of skills and expertise is universally recognised as a key method for enhancing the capability and competency of everyone involved.

NZQA will work with the Pacific Island governments to further develop their qualifications recognition systems, so that people can have their qualifications readily assessed and understood by government agencies and employers across the region, regardless of where they move.

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