Education Amendment Bill (No 2)

The Education Amendment Bill (No 2) (the Bill) was introduced on 10 March 2014. A copy of the bill can be found on the Parliamentary Counsel Office’s website.

The Education Amendment Bill (No 2) (the Bill) amends the Education Act 1989. The public policy objectives of the Bill are:

  • to ensure that New Zealand’s education sector is equipped to meet the challenges and opportunities of the modern learning context;
  • to create a regulatory framework that promotes accountability and high standards within the education sector; and
  • to drive continuous improvement in the education sector by clarifying, streamlining, and strengthening processes, as appropriate.

A new professional body for the education profession

The Bill establishes the Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand as the new professional body to lead and promote quality teaching, and as a consequence, disestablishes the New Zealand Teachers Council. In addition, the Bill also makes changes to the regulatory framework for teaching and to the disciplinary regime for teachers.

The Bill contains amendments that:

  • establish the Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand as an independent statutory body, with a focus on investing in leadership, as well as quality teaching, across early childhood education and schooling;
  • strengthen the regulatory framework for teaching to ensure consistently high professional conduct and education standards, including through the separation of teacher registration from the issuing of practising certificates; and
  • strengthen and streamline the disciplinary regime for teachers, especially in relation to the investigation of reports of, and complaints about, possible serious misconduct.

Tertiary education institution governance

The Bill provides for changes to university and wānanga governance by establishing a new legal framework to support efficient and effective governance. To achieve this, the Bill contains amendments that:

  • reduce council size from between 12 to 20 members to between 8 to 12 members, in order to support more effective decision- making;
  • provide for increased flexibility for institutions to shape their council membership;
  • prioritise members’ capabilities; and
  • clearly define individual council members’ duties and accountabilities.

International education

The Bill addresses the public policy objectives by strengthening the legal framework governing the care and support of international students, and improving the responsiveness of the education system to the needs of international students.

The Bill contains amendments that:

  • enable improvements to be made to the “Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students”;
  • enable more targeted intervention in situations where education providers are not complying with their obligations under the “Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students”;
  • create more effective and efficient sanctions for breaches of the “Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students” by education providers; and
  • establish an independent contract disputes resolution scheme for international students and education providers.

Quality assurance in tertiary education

In 2011, the regulation of the tertiary education system was strengthened through the modernising of the New Zealand Qualifications Authority’s legal framework. Subsequently, a number of refinements have been identified that will strengthen or streamline aspects of the framework.

The Bill contains amendments that:

  • confirm and strengthen the New Zealand Qualification Authority’s ability to undertake quality assurance of tertiary education organisations;
  • streamline the processes for de-registration of private training establishments; and
  • provide the New Zealand Qualification Authority with additional and targeted enforcement powers.
  • In addition, amendments are made that will clarify and streamline the student fee protection regime, covering both domestic and international students. The amendments will reduce compliance costs for private training establishments, and improve the protection of fees paid by prospective and enrolled students to such establishments.

Miscellaneous

A minor administrative amendment is made to the Education Act 1989, enabling the Secretary for Education to determine the form of school Board of Trustees’ annual financial statements, after consultation with the Auditor-General. In 2015, changes to the nationwide accounting standards will come into effect. The power will allow the adoption of a consistent approach across all schools.

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