1 The Tertiary Education Sector

Central education agencies

The Ministry of Education, the TEC, and the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) are the central government education agencies most relevant to TEIs.

Ministry of Education Te Tāhuka o te Mātauranga

The Ministry of Education is the government department responsible for developing a broad policy framework for tertiary education. It advises Ministers on the development of the TES and other strategic and policy issues in tertiary education. It is responsible for monitoring the success of the TES, for collecting and managing data on tertiary education and for monitoring the performance of the overall system.

The Secretary for Education is the Chief Executive of the Ministry. The Act confers some statutory functions on the Secretary that are relevant to TEIs. For example, as outlined below, TEIs cannot exercise the power to borrow, issue debentures, or otherwise raise money without the consent of the Secretary (s 192(4), Education Act 1989). The Secretary is also responsible for determining the criteria for assessing TEIs’ level of risk (s 195A, Education Act 1989) and publishing those criteria.

Tertiary Education Commission Te Tāhuka Mātauranga MatuaTop

The TEC is responsible for funding post-compulsory education and training offered by TEOs. Its functions are set in the Act and include (s 159F):

(a) to give effect to the tertiary education strategy by:
i) prescribing and publishing guidance on the content of, and processes associated with seeking funding approval for, proposed plans; and
ii) prescribing and publishing guidance on the criteria the Commission will use to assess proposed plans; and
iii) assessing proposed plans and deciding whether they will receive funding approval by applying the relevant assessment criteria; and
iv) determining the amount of funding payable to organisations by applying the appropriate funding mechanisms; and
v) allocating funding to organisations that have plans; and
vi) allocating funding to organisations that are not required to have plans in order to receive funding; and
vii) prescribing what plan summaries must contain for the purposes of public inspection; and
viii) building the capability of organisations
(b) to provide advice to the Minister on the activities and performance of tertiary education organisations and the tertiary education sector generally; and (ba) to develop details of how to implement funding mechanisms; and (bb) to implement funding mechanisms; and
(c) to provide advice to the Minister on the implementation of policy and on the operational implications of new policy initiatives; and
(d) to monitor the performance of organisations that receive funding from the Commission including by measuring performance against specified outcomes; and (da) to undertake any functions that the Minister directs the Commission to undertake under section 159J; and
(e) to undertake any functions delegated to the Commission, including (without limitation) functions relating to the funding of organisations other than under section 159YA or 159ZC; and
(f) to undertake any other function given by this Act, the Industry Training Act 1992, the Modern Apprenticeship Training Act 2000, or any other enactment.

The principal interactions between a TEI council and the TEC typically include:

New Zealand Qualifications Authority Mana Tohu Mātauranga o AotearoaTop

The main functions of the NZQA are to approve qualifications in secondary schools and in post-school education and training, and to oversee the overall quality of the delivery of those qualifications.

The NZQA approves all qualifications delivered by ITPs, PTEs and wānanga. The NZQA does not approve university qualifications, which are approved by the Committee on University Academic Programmes, a committee of Universities New Zealand/Te Pōkai Tara. The Academic Quality Agency for New Zealand Universities is responsible for external institutional-level quality assurance for universities.

The NZQA is also responsible for the quality that underpins the delivery of those qualifications. Quality assurance processes include course approval and course accreditation, and the external evaluation and review (EER) and self-assessment of ITPs, wānanga and PTEs.

Only those tertiary qualifications and providers that are quality assured by the NZQA can receive government financial assistance.