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Education Bill brings greater accountability in international education


Steven Joyce

13 April, 2011

Education Bill brings greater accountability in international education

The Education Amendment Bill (No. 4), which last night passed its first reading in Parliament, brings changes to the oversight of private training establishments (PTEs) involved in export education which will result in higher standards and greater accountability, says Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce.

Changes in the Bill are designed to:

  • Give NZQA stronger powers to monitor, investigate and enforce the compliance of PTEs.
  • Raise the threshold for PTE registration to ensure transparency and appropriate quality of PTEs when they are registered.

Mr Joyce says legislation around PTE registration has not kept up with the changes and growth in the sector over the past 20 years.

?The current measures available for managing performance in this sector are insufficient in today?s conditions.   NZQA?s work to drive improvements in the lowest performing PTEs is currently hampered by the outdated nature of the legislative provisions and inconsistencies within them.

?While the vast majority of providers are doing a good job, there have been incidents involving dishonest practices in some PTEs.   It is important that steps are taken to ensure such practices are not allowed to continue. 

?These changes will further increase the confidence of international students in the quality and strength of New Zealand?s private education system and its protection of students? interests.

?The increased investment in the sector, and its growing economic value to New Zealand, increases the importance of a clear and effective regulatory regime.

"International education contributes more than $2 billion in total to our economy each year - further development of the sector will bring real benefits in terms of economic growth plus additional income to allow our tertiary institutions to grow.

?It?s vital that we keep working on enhancing the quality of the sector so New Zealand remains an attractive place to study.?

Further detail on provisions included in the Bill is below.        


Summary of Education Amendment Bill (No 4)

  1. To modernise the NZQA?s legal arrangements:
    • raising the threshold for PTE registration
    • giving NZQA greater powers of entry to premises in cases of non-compliance
    • giving NZQA greater powers to cancel registration of a PTE
    • creating a rules regime to replace the Authority's current powers to issue policies and criteria
    • removing the Authority?s power to delegate quality assurance functions
    • providing the legal basis for the new New Zealand Qualifications Framework
  2. To establish a new Crown agent for international education responsible for international education promotions. This consolidates the currently separate international education activities of the Ministry of Education, NZ Trade and Enterprise and the Education New Zealand Trust.
  3. Enable the Minister for Tertiary Education to issue directions to tertiary education organisations in relation to compulsory student services fees. Across all universities, the average levy increased by 102% between 2009 and 2010 ($194 to $392). In the first instance, the Minister may issue directions to:
    • hold fees in a specified manner (for example, in a separate audited account),
    • specify the categories of student services that may be made available
    • arrangements for decisions to be made jointly or in consultation with students on matters associated with student services
    • include in the annual report a description of services funded, and a statement of fee income and expenditure

If the Minister is not satisfied that an individual provider is complying with the directions he has issued, he will have the power to issue a further direction specifying to a provider the maximum limit on the amount that may be charged for those services.

The Bill also includes technical amendments to the Education Act 1989. These technical amendments streamline the making of  regulations on the export education levy, and rationalise export education related definitions. 2012