Pānga tuatahi: Ngā tohu mātauranga

Impact 1: Qualifications

New Zealand’s qualifications meet the needs of learners and employers, and enhance NZ’s social and economic outcomes

The New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF) is the definitive source for accurate information about all quality assured New Zealand qualifications – covering secondary school, tertiary education and those open to international learners. The NZQF is designed to optimise the recognition of a learner’s achievement and to contribute to New Zealand’s economic, social and cultural success.

Delivering to today’s learners, employers and providers

Ensuring New Zealand’s qualifications respond to the changing needs of learners and employers and enhance New Zealand’s social and economic outcomes

NZQA’s focus is on ensuring New Zealand’s qualifications respond to the changing needs of learners and employers, and enhance New Zealand’s social and economic outcomes. This year our focus has continued to be on ensuring the NZQF is fit for purpose, and formally introducing micro-credentials into the regulated education and training system.

Review of the New Zealand Qualifications Framework

A review of the NZQF was initiated in 2017/18 to ensure the Framework is flexible and adaptive to the future needs of employers, communities, learners and other stakeholders.

In progressing the review, we engaged with a wide range of stakeholders on proposals to:

  • more clearly embed transferable skills in the architecture of the framework
  • include a wider range of quality assured products on the NZQF
  • improve the usability of the NZQF and better reflect New Zealand’s cultural context
  • resolve technical issues.

Feedback from the initial consultation endorsed the approach. The review is expected to be completed by the end of the 2019/20 financial year. This will enable alignment with progress on the Reform of Vocational Education, further engagement and completion of technical work.

Introducing micro-credentials into the regulated education and training system

Recognition and quality assurance of micro- credentials were formally introduced into the regulated education and training system in the first quarter, following a pilot in the previous year. These industry-led, small, coherent packages of learning and assessment will assist employers and learners to access current skills faster.

Case study: Building and construction industry and micro-credentials

Micro-credentials, or Managed Traineeships as BCITO refers to them, offer specialised recognition that reflects the increased segmentation of work in the industry.

BCITO Chief Executive Warwick Quinn says it has been trialling the concept and is delighted the Government has decided to formally run with it. Its Managed Traineeship programme aims to equip learners with specific construction skills that more accurately reflect the changing nature of the construction industry and business practices.

“The qualifications currently available do not fully reflect how the construction industry and many other sectors operate. As technology changes and as the sector becomes more specialised, some firms no longer require or indeed are able to offer, the scope of work a full apprenticeship requires. This affects their willingness and ability to train,” says Warwick.

“Micro-credentials are a great step forward. We believe it will make training more attractive and relevant for the industry and will attract new talent at a time when we need at least 25,000 qualified people in the next five years to meet demand.” 5

 5 Reproduced with permission from the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation

 In response to interest from a range of domestic and international organisations outside the regulated education and training system which also use micro-credentials, NZQA has enabled the equivalency of these micro-credentials to be assessed in relation to the NZQF.

Once equivalency is established, learners will be able to receive a statement showing the credit value and level of learning of the micro-credential in relation to the NZQF.

Monitoring our progress

IndicatorMeasured by2018/19 Result
We see increases in the usefulness and value of qualifications listed on the NZQF by learners and employers. By 2020 an evaluation will be undertaken to show how well the needs initially identified are being met through New Zealand qualifications at Levels 1-6 listed on the NZQF. Results will be available in 2020.

University Entrance (UE)

Maintenance of the UE approved subjects list

Every four years NZQA consults with the education sector and other interested groups about the approved subjects list for University Entrance to ensure that this list is relevant and meets the sector’s expectations. The most recent review has been deferred until 2020 as this will better align with the timing of other reviews underway, in particular the NCEA Review, and will allow for any resulting changes to be incorporated.

Meanwhile, NZQA has continued to process applications to amend the approved subjects list for UE in 2018 with the addition of New Zealand Sign Language and Psychology, and in 2019 with the addition of ten new Digital technologies and Hangarau Matihiko Achievement Standards. Both amendments apply for entrance to university in 2020.

Maintenance of qualifications

NZQA is the Qualification Developer for 130 New Zealand qualifications, including 53 mātauranga Māori qualifications. Work has commenced on the review of qualifications in Business, Information Technology and Computing, Māori Governance, Tourism Māori and Manaaki Marae, all of which are due to be completed by 31 December 2019.

Providing easy access to a record of the learning an individual has achieved

NZQA has expanded the electronic New Zealand Record of Achievement (NZRoA) to include learner achievement of a wider range of qualifications as well as achievement of NZQA quality assured micro-credentials.

Improved web entry functionality has allowed achievement of micro-credentials to be reported directly to NZQA and shortened the time from award of a qualification by an education organisation to it being recorded on the learners NZRoA.

Monitoring our progress

IndicatorMeasured by2018/19 Result
Learners can more easily use their record of achievement. Learners can access a comprehensive electronic record of their learning by 2019. The digital New Zealand Record of Achievement, accessible by learners from 2017, was expanded this year to include the achievement of a wider range of qualifications and quality assured micro-credentials.

Recognising qualifications gained overseas

Continuous improvement process for customer centred services

NZQA has begun work on the development of a new online application platform and an updated suite of products to improve the experience for customers looking to have their international qualifications recognised for work, study or immigration purposes in New Zealand. This work is due be completed by October 2019. NZQA ensures that employers, education providers and other government agencies understand what an overseas qualification means in the New Zealand context and can have assurance that they have been robustly assessed.

Overseas teachers supply work programme

NZQA has continued to refine and expand the list of pre-approved overseas teaching qualifications. This year qualifications from Scotland have been added so the list now includes 632 qualifications across eight countries.

It is estimated that approximately 35 percent of overseas teachers interested in teaching in New Zealand have their qualifications recognised using the pre-approved list. The list makes it easier for teachers to determine their eligibility and reduces the overall time and cost for teachers with overseas qualifications applying to be a teacher in New Zealand. The response from intending teachers and agencies involved in the process of supporting the teacher recruitment campaign has been positive.

Creating the platform for the future

Working with other jurisdictions so that New Zealand qualifications are internationally recognised and portable

NZQA is continuing its work to achieve the goal of recognition arrangements with 50 countries by the end of 2020. These qualification recognition arrangements have enabled NZQA to extend the global reach of the NZQF and enhance the credibility and portability of qualifications listed on the NZQF.

We completed the comparison of the Irish National Framework of Qualifications and the NZQF. This project built from earlier work with Ireland to extend recognition across all levels of each qualifications framework. For the first time, the European Qualifications Framework was used as a translation device to undertake the comparison, and a user-friendly guide has been developed to report the outcomes of the recognition project. The new guide will be published early in the 2019/20 year.

We continue to engage with other countries through international fora to support the recognition of the NZQF and the development and use of qualifications frameworks internationally, including supporting the development of the ASEAN 6 Qualifications Reference Framework.

Monitoring our progress

IndicatorMeasured by2018/19 Result
We have increased international recognition of the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF). Qualification recognition arrangements with 50 countries by 2020 (2020 Goal). As at 30 June 2019, NZQA has qualification recognition arrangements with 43 jurisdictions. The most recent arrangement is the joint project with Ireland to improve understanding and recognition of qualifications across all levels of each country's framework.

Sector qualifications register

Creating the single record of qualifications

The NZQF Register will be the single, authoritative public record of qualifications, programmes and component information. It is intended to provide real-time publication of information relating to approved qualifications. TEOs will also be able to manage and monitor their applications online by the end of 2019.

A gradual transition has been implemented this year. NZQA has worked with a pilot group of TEOs as they use the NZQF Register to support its broader implementation.


6 ASEAN – Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

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