July 2017
- 28 Jul 2017

Concerns around compressed delivery for international students

NZQA and Immigration New Zealand recently sent out a joint letter about tertiary education organisations (TEOs) providing sub-degree programmes to international students within a compressed timeframe.

An example of this practice is the delivery of 10 hours of class time per day, over two consecutive days per week.

Immigration New Zealand is concerned that this compressed model of delivery enables some students to work in excess of the hours permitted by their student visas.

NZQA expects that TEOs with international students will structure their programmes to maximise educational value and not in a way that minimises the number of days students are required to attend.

The primary purpose for international students to be in New Zealand is to study. As such, programmes need to be delivered in a way that provides students with the best chance of education success.

NZQA strongly encourages TEOs with highly compressed delivery formats for international students to reconsider such arrangements. NZQA will consider confirmed compressed delivery as a risk factor.

Please contact Immigration New Zealand on educationproviders@mbie.govt.nz or NZQA on qadrisk@nzqa.govt.nz if you wish to discuss this further.

The New Zealand Record of Achievement

NZQA is working with learners, education providers and employers to ensure their needs are met in a world that is increasingly global, digital and connected.

As part of this work, NZQA has refreshed the Record of Achievement, the official transcript of national qualifications and standards.

Now known as the New Zealand Record of Achievement (NZRoA), the new record is a secure electronic record that is accessible anytime, anywhere through the learner’s portal on the NZQA website.

To find out more, see New Zealand Record of Achievement.

Data not held by NZQA

To record achievement data not held by NZQA (i.e. non-standards-based New Zealand and university qualifications), NZQA is matching Single Data Return (SDR) files with qualifications information files.

The SDR data is validated against NZQA data using qualification code, qualification title (exact match), qualification provider code, qualification status (checking whether it is current, expiring or discontinued within a valid date range), qualification version status (checking whether it is approved or superseded within a valid date range), accreditation status, and whether the qualification requires a qualification check or has strands.

Qualification mismatches

To prevent mismatches, it is critical that education organisations use the qualification information (code, title, level, etc) assigned by NZQA when they submit their annual SDR return files to the Ministry of Education. This will make it easier for NZQA to match the SDR records to the corresponding records in our database.

NZQA will investigate any qualification information mismatches. This includes looking at historical data and liaising with education organisations and the Tertiary Education Commission. This may delay the recording of learners’ achievements on their NZRoA, and sometimes prevent any recording if we cannot have the assurance of the learning achieved. In that case NZQA will refer the learner to their education organisation.

Over the coming months, NZQA plans to retrospectively archive SDR files from 2011-2016, and will investigate publishing records going back further. 

The new NZRoA is designed to be more flexible.  As sector-wide projects progress and data sharing technology grows, more achievement data can be added, such as learning components and programmes.

Code of Practice update

Self-review and attestation 2017

Thank you to those who submitted suggestions for the timing of the self-review attestation for 2017. After reviewing responses, the due date for attestation this year will be 31 October 2017.

The 2017 self-review report template and attestation form will be sent to all signatories in late July. The self-review template is a suggestion only; signatories can undertake and document self-review in any format.

Insurance: your questions answered

In May’s eQuate we asked for your questions about insurance. Here’s our advice.

An international student’s insurance coverage must, as a minimum, cover those risks set out in Clause 16 (5) of the Code. To meet the outcomes of the Code and ensure student safety and wellbeing, however, Code signatories should also ensure that there are appropriate levels of insurance to cover any other risks. These risks may differ as each international student is different and therefore has their own ‘risk profile’. Code signatories and their international students should consider what is appropriate to their situation before entering a legally binding contract (Outcome 3, Clause 15 (a and b)).

1. What level of medical care insurance is needed?

While the Code outlines the minimum risks to be covered in a student’s insurance policy, it does not, for example, specify the level (i.e. amount in dollars) of medical care cover required. Signatories may consider requiring their students to have unlimited cover for medical care, including medical expenses for diagnosis, prescription, surgery and hospitalisation. Unlimited cover ensures that international students have access to medical assistance when required and is therefore an effective way of managing risk.

Another factor to consider when ensuring your students have ‘appropriate’ insurance is whether the insurance should cover pre-existing conditions. If a student enters New Zealand with pre-existing conditions for which the student has no insurance, both the student and signatory are at risk should the student need to access expensive medical care.

2. Are students allowed to purchase insurance in instalments? For example, some students need to have insurance for one academic year, but they may ask to purchase it in two policies of six months each.

The Code requires that students hold appropriate insurance at all times while enrolled with the provider. A student may wish to purchase insurance in instalments that, individually, do not cover the entire duration of a student’s enrolment period. In that case, the onus is on signatories to have checks in place to ensure that the insurance coverage does not ever lapse and that a student is always covered.

3. Increasingly, agents are sourcing insurance that does not cover one or more of the elements specified in Clause 16 (5) of the Code. Whose responsibility is it to ensure that students are covered for all elements?

It is the responsibility of the signatory to ensure, as far as practicable, that students are covered for each of the elements specified in clause 16 (5) of the Code. If a signatory identifies that an element is missing from a student’s insurance cover, a signatory must take steps to rectify such a shortfall. If the insurance policy is written in a foreign language then signatories must get written confirmation from the insurance supplier that the insurance policy offered fully meets the requirements of the Code. Signatories are responsible, under Outcome 2 of the Code, for ensuring that their agents do not jeopardise the signatory’s compliance with the Code.

4. Is it appropriate for schools to insist that students have obtained appropriate insurance before sending out an Offer of Place? I have asked a couple of agents about this and they’ve indicated that this would create barriers for their own process.

It is up to signatories to decide how they wish to manage this type of scenario – whether they want to ensure that students have obtained appropriate insurance before issuing an Offer of Place, or whether having appropriate insurance is a condition of the international student contract.

Signatories have an obligation under the Code to ensure that international students have appropriate insurance for the period of enrolment. The relationship signatories have with their agents must be managed so that this obligation is not compromised.

5. Do the same insurance requirements apply to group students?

The requirement for insurance applies to all international students enrolled with you, traveling either individually or in a group.

Code of Practice toolbox

We welcome contributions to or suggestions for enhancing the toolbox. These can be made by emailing: code.enquiries@nzqa.govt.nz.

Code enquiries

If you have any queries about the Code, please don’t hesitate to contact NZQA and ask to speak to a member of the Code team. Our contact details are: 0800 679 3000; code.enquiries@nzqa.govt.nz

Cut-off dates for submitting programme approval and accreditation applications for 2018

The following are cut-off dates for submitting programme approval and accreditation applications where the intention is to begin delivery early in 2018:

  • Degree programme approval and accreditation applications – cut-off date is 30 August 2017
  • Where providers wish to obtain outcomes for sub-degree level approval and accreditation applications prior to Christmas, the cut-off date is 20 October 2017

Achievement of these timelines excludes any time when an application is subject to a Request for Further Information.

English language-only providers to submit UIP data

From 2018, English language-only providers who enrol international students will submit enrolment information to the Ministry of Education through an automated system known as the UIP system. The changes will start from 1 January 2018, and will be a requirement to maintain registration. More information can be found at English language-only providers to submit UIP data.

Assessing Learning Conference – 29 November–1 December 2017

Otago Polytechnic, NZQA and Ako Aotearoa are co-hosting a conference on Assessment of Learner Achievement, to be held at Otago Polytechnic from 29 November to 1 December 2017.

This is a practitioner-focused conference intended to build capability, innovation and good practice. The conference is relevant to all parts of the tertiary sector including institutes of technology and polytechnics, industry training organisations, private training establishments, wānanga and universities.

The Assessing Learner Conference website contains more information, a provisional programme and details on how to register.

QAD on the web

Publication of NZQA statutory actions

Following consultation with the sector and wider public, NZQA made the decision to publish summaries of statutory actions NZQA has taken against TEOs, including current compliance notices, on our website.

Most respondents to the survey agreed with publishing statutory actions information, and most recommended that the information be published in summary form.

See Statutory actions for an explanation of the types of statutory actions NZQA uses, and a list of current actions.

See Publishing statutory actions on the NZQA website – feedback summary and decision for an analysis of responses to the consultation.


Consultation on tertiary education indicators closes 31 July 2017

Consultation on the reviewed tertiary evaluation indicators closes on 31 July 2017. For more information see Reviewed tertiary evaluation indicators.

NZQA will finalise and publish the indicators by 31 August 2017.

Updated Immigration New Zealand approval rates for student visas

The 2016 approval rates for student visas are available on the Immigration New Zealand website.

The list enables education providers who enrol international students to check the visa decline rate for the students’ countries of origin. Students from countries with a decline rate of over 20 per cent have specific testing requirements for English language proficiency.

These are detailed in English language entry requirements for international students.

Application acknowledgements

TEOs that have submitted an application online via the TEO login, and have not received the email acknowledgment within a week of the application being made, please contact the Client Services Team at APERS@nzqa.govt.nz.

Forms and attestations due

Annual Return and Student Fee Protection audit opinions (due 31 August 2017)

PTEs with a financial year-end of 31 March 2017 need to submit the following documents to NZQA by 31 August 2017:

Quarterly student fee protection attestation (due 14 September 2017)

The quarterly attestation form for Student Fee Protection for the quarter ending 31 August 2017 is due to your trustee by 7 September 2017. Lodge the trustee attestation with NZQA by 14 September 2017.

Download the form at: Quarterly student fee protection attestation.

Forwarding information and queries

Forward the above documents to: qaadmin@nzqa.govt.nz. For any queries about these requirements, contact Yvonne Collins, 04 463 3256 or email: qaadmin@nzqa.govt.nz.

Subscribe to eQuate 

You can subscribe to eQuate through the ‘sign up’ link on the eQuate section of the NZQA website.

Compliance summary for July–September 2017

Annual Return – Statutory Declaration

To NZQA within five months of PTE’s financial year-end

For PTEs with a financial year-end of 31 March 2017, due 31 August 2017

Annual Return – Independent Assurance Practitioner’s Review

To NZQA within five months of PTE’s financial year-end

For PTEs with a financial year-end of 31 March 2017, due 31 August 2017

Student Fee Protection audit

To NZQA within five months of PTE’s financial year-end

For PTEs with a financial year-end of 31 March 2017, due 31 August 2017

Student Fee Protection quarterly attestation – quarter ending 31 August 2017

To NZQA by 14 September 2017

No longer required for standard trusts – only for static trusts or bank bond trusts

Code of Practice self-review attestation

To NZQA by 31 October 2017

Annual requirement

Compliance declaration

Submission of self-assessment material

Not an annual requirement; only required before external evaluation and review for ITOs, ITPs, GTEs and wānanga

Fit and Proper Person and Conflict of Interest declarations

With new applications for registration; also, for proposed new governing members* of registered PTEs

*See Section 232 of the Education Act 1989 for the definition of governing member

Must be completed by all new governing members before commencing in the role, and at any time when an existing governing member has a new conflict of interest or change in fit and proper status

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