He tauākī whakamaunga atu Statement of Intent 2019/20 - 2022/23

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The nature and scope of our functions

Our contribution to the education system

The Government’s Education Portfolio Work Programme is based on the following objectives:

• Learners at the Centre
• Barrier-Free Access
• Quality Teaching
• Quality Public Education
• 21st Century Learning.

NZQA’s strategic outcomes framework outlined in this Statement of Intent incorporates these key drivers. This is evidenced by our focus on equity for Māori and Pasifika learners as well learners with disabilities and additional learning needs and socio- economically disadvantaged learners.

We work closely and in collaboration with the wider government sector, colleague education agencies and other key stakeholders to gain synergies and deliver the best impact. We recognise that through working together we can more effectively help create the acceleration in learner achievement and system performance required for New Zealand’s success. 

An example of our collaboration with schools is our work with the Education Review Office and the Ministry of Education regional offices to provide NCEA data to inform discussions about equity in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects. Likewise, collaboration is fundamental to our work in reviewing the NZQF. We will continue these and other collaborations in support of the Education Portfolio Work Programme.

System changes are proposed through a number of reviews. We are working with colleague agencies on the changes proposed by the NCEA Review, the Tomorrow’s Schools Review and the Reform of Vocational Education to ensure that the way our services are delivered in the next three or four years is responsive to government decisions.

Our role

Our primary role is to ensure that New Zealand qualifications are accepted as credible and robust, both nationally and internationally. We do this through our work to quality assure non-university tertiary education, regulate tertiary education, deliver robust senior-secondary-school-level assessment and credentialing and improve the qualifications system.

Our vision, ‘Qualify for the Future World: Kia Noho Takatū Ki Tō Āmua Ao’, encapsulates our role and ambition for learners and for New Zealand. Our performance is a vital element of making New Zealand’s education system world leading and accessible to all learners.

Key functions


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

Quality assurance:

Our quality assurance role is directed towards supporting higher levels of trust and confidence in education outcomes for the tertiary education system. We set the statutory rules for the whole tertiary education sector and manage quality assurance in the non-university part of the tertiary sector.


We administer and quality assure three NCEA levels for senior secondary learners (and for a smaller number of learners outside the secondary school system) and New Zealand Scholarship examinations. We do this through:

  • Internal assessment for NCEA – by managing a system of quality assurance across schools’ internal assessment, which includes scheduled reviews of schools’ assessment systems, external moderation of internal assessment, and monitoring. We also provide workshops, seminars and other support as needed
  • External assessment – we administer NCEA and New Zealand Scholarship external assessment, including reports, portfolios and examinations.


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