Ngā kupu takamua a Te Poari - Board foreword

Poipoia te kākano kia puāwai - Nurture the seed and it will blossom 

This is an exciting time for the delivery of education in New Zealand. As a Board we recognise that the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) has a key role in ensuring that all New Zealanders have the opportunity to achieve individual and collective success. Strengthened obligations to the Māori-Crown relationship, set out through the Education and Training Act 2020, require leadership at every level of the organisation. We are proud of the long-term relationship NZQA has with Ngā Kaitūhono. The Board has made a commitment to work collegially to further enhance and recognise this partnership. 

Work is also underway to reinforce the organisation’s regulatory practice and governance, including considering how to reflect NZQA’s equity goals in the way we work with schools and tertiary education organisations.  

The Board is well placed to support NZQA’s work, with members having diverse backgrounds including in the areas of secondary school teaching, university and vocational education, and championing equity of access for disabled learners, Māori and Pacific communities. 

Over the life of this Statement of Intent (SOI), NZQA will have a specific focus on Te Whakakitenga 2025 – the four goals guide the organisation’s work programme and support NZQA’s vision.  

  • National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) external assessments are relevant for a digital age and support equitable outcomes. 
  • NZQA adapts the qualifications system to support the Reform of Vocational Education and lifelong learning. 
  • The New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF) and quality assurance arrangements support increased inclusion of mātauranga Māori in qualifications. 
  • NZQA partners with Māori, Pacific, education agencies and others to enable equitable achievement for ākonga (learners) Māori and Pacific learners in STEM subjects at all levels of NCEA. 

NZQA’s work in pursuit of each of these statements aligns with Government expectations, NZQA’s strategic objectives and the organisation’s vision.  

Te hāngai ki te ao hangarau - Relevance for a digital age 

NZQA has accrued considerable experience in digital assessment through the development of NCEA Online. We are leveraging this expertise to support both a ‘digital first’ assessment approach in the Review of Achievement Standards, and the NCEA Change Programme’s adoption of a wider range of innovative assessment methods. 

Offering a range of assessment formats which better reflect how students learn and live outside of the classroom helps ensure the continued recognition of NCEA as a trustworthy, valid measure of what students know and can do. NZQA is ensuring that digital assessment is culturally relevant and inclusive – including facilitating the use of te reo Māori, both in assessment tasks and student responses. 

Digital assessment provides opportunities to improve equity for disabled learners and those with other learning needs. NZQA is working to ensure that digital assessment empowers these groups, and is making improvements to the accessibility of all our information and services. 

Te manaaki i te whakahoutanga o te Mātauranga Ahumahinga me te ako mutunga kore - Supporting the Reform of Vocational Education and lifelong learning  

Alongside NZQA’s support of the sectorwide changes to vocational education, we are working to update NZQA’s quality assurance approach to align with the Review of Vocational Education (RoVE) environment. 

The uptake of online post-secondary learning in response to COVID-19 poses both challenges and opportunities for learners and education providers. NZQA recognises the role of distance learning in mitigating COVID-related disruptions, while also adjusting the focus of quality assurance to ensure a move to online learning does not adversely impact on the quality of education that learners receive. 

As international students return to New Zealand, NZQA will continue supporting the pastoral care of these students alongside our domestic learners, while ensuring New Zealand education products delivered online and/ or offshore meet the quality expected from a New Zealand provider. 

Te tuitui i te mātauranga Māori - Inclusion of mātauranga Māori 

NZQA is committed to giving effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, with a particular focus on supporting equitable educational outcomes for Māori. We aim to achieve this through working in partnership with iwi and with Ngā Kaitūhono.  

We are continuing to support work which better recognises mātauranga Māori across the education system, including through recognising its equal status in NCEA and in the review of the New Zealand Qualifications Framework. 

One context for this work is the NCEA Change Programme, led by the Ministry of Education. This also includes the Review of Achievement Standards and the introduction of specific standards for Te Reo Matatini me te Pāngarau | Literacy and Numeracy. 

Te mana taurite i STEM - Equity in STEM 

We are continuing our work to encourage Māori and Pacific students into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) pathways, including through NZQA’s long-standing support of the Pūhoro STEM Academy. 

We will continue to provide equity in STEM achievement data to key stakeholders, including iwi, to inform actions to effect positive change. 

We deliver workshops to whānau to increase their understanding of NCEA and build confidence to support their children to be successful in NCEA. One of the key messages we communicate to parents is the importance of taking STEM-related subjects to provide the broadest range of future career opportunities. 

NZQA has produced strategic action plans for ākonga (learner) Māori and Pacific learner success (Te Kōkiritanga and Takiala Pasifika, respectively). These plans set out our ambition for equity of educational achievement for ākonga Māori and Pacific learners (including in STEM). Each of the strategic action plans outlines priorities and the work towards them. The Board is also keen to pursue any opportunity to work with or support others in the sector to address barriers to learning earlier in students’ educational journeys. One potential example is supporting the removal of streaming which is commonly used for STEM subjects.  

Te manaaki tangata - Supporting our people 

To realise NZQA’s vision of helping people ‘Qualify for the future world | Kia noho takatū ki tō āmua ao’, we will continue to need engaged and high-performing teams at every level of the organisation. NZQA’s Rautaki Whakawhanake Tāngata | People Strategy supports our shared direction and purpose; and gives us an umbrella framework for our commitment to equity, management and leadership development, and professional development. This will, in turn, allow NZQA to continue to attract and retain a diverse range of people with the required capabilities – including mātauranga Māori, education, regulatory, analytical and data science capabilities – to take our organisation into the future. 
Hon Tracey Martin 
Board Chair 
Lyn Provost 
Risk and Assurance Committee Chair 

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