Quality assurance of education in New Zealand

The New Zealand government has processes in place to ensure education quality is high and students are well cared for.

How we ensure quality

New Zealand education is high quality, with checks in place for each part of the system, as well as for the system as a whole.

The New Zealand government monitors the quality of learning outcomes and the systems and processes education providers use. It does this through its agencies, including NZQA. The agencies have distinct roles and work alongside each other to assure the quality of different aspects of the education system.

This is called 'quality assurance'. It ensures that students get quality education and appropriate support from their education provider.

The effectiveness of the New Zealand education system is supported by:

  • a robust qualifications framework
  • quality, relevant qualifications
  • strong education delivery and assessment
  • high-calibre education providers
  • pastoral care of students.

The New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF)

NZQF is the heart of New Zealand’s education system. All qualifications listed on the NZQF come with an assurance of quality that is recognised and trusted worldwide.

Understanding the New Zealand Qualifications Framework

Quality assurance of secondary schools

The Ministry of Education develops the educational goals and curriculum for primary and secondary schools. They also write the achievement standards used in secondary schools.

Ministry of Education

The Education Review Office (ERO) checks the quality of education and student support in secondary schools, primary schools and early childhood education centres.

Education Review Office

NZQA quality assures the delivery and assessment of New Zealand’s national secondary school qualification, the National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA).

We have a formal quality assurance process to ensure that the assessment is fair for all students, regardless of the school they attend. This includes internal moderation, external moderation and assessment system checks.

How NCEA works

Quality assurance of tertiary education organisations (TEOs)

Tertiary education in New Zealand refers to all post-school education. It is equivalent to both the terms ‘higher education’ and ‘vocational education’ used in other countries. There are overarching statutory rules for the quality assurance of all TEOs.

NZQA sets the regulations for the quality assurance for all higher education in New Zealand. NZQA quality assures the non-university tertiary sector. Universities New Zealand quality assures the eight New Zealand universities.

Quality assurance of universities

Universities New Zealand ensures all universities provide high quality qualifications and education.

Universities New Zealand

Universities New Zealand approves degrees and qualifications offered by universities through the Committee on University Academic Programmes.

Committee on University Academic Programmes

The Academic Quality Agency for New Zealand Universities checks that degrees and qualifications offered are good quality and well taught.

Academic Quality Agency for New Zealand Universities

Quality assurance of other tertiary education organisations

NZQA sets the rules for the quality assurance of tertiary education in New Zealand and checks the quality of education provided by non-university tertiary education organisations in New Zealand.

The tertiary education organisations NZQA quality assures are:

  • Te Pūkenga – New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology
  • Wānanga
  • Private training establishments (PTEs)
  • Government training establishments.

NZQA uses rigorous processes and systems, which you can read more about here:

NZQA's quality assurance system for tertiary education organisations

Caring for international students at all levels of education

The Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 (the international Code) is in place to protect international students.

The international Code is a document that clearly outlines the full legal requirements that education providers enrolling international students must abide by.

The purpose of this code is to support the Government’s objectives for international education by:

  • requiring providers to take all reasonable steps to protect international students, and
  • ensuring, so far as is possible, that international students in New Zealand have a positive experience that supports their educational achievement.

Code of Pastoral Care for international students

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