Education and Training Bill - other changes to education legislation

Giving better effect to the Treaty of Waitangi at the national level

Te Tiriti o Waitangi clause in the Education and Training Bill

As a partner to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, the Crown has a duty to actively promote and protect Tiriti rights and to develop education settings in a way that reflects Māori-Crown relationships.

The Education and Training Bill includes a new clause that sets out the key Te Tiriti o Waitangi-related provisions in one place. Clause 9 is intended to identify, and increase the accessibility of, the key provisions in the Bill that recognise and respect the Crown’s responsibility to give effect to Te Tiriti. Currently, there is no Te Tiriti o Waitangi clause in the Education Act 1989.

Statement of expectations

To address education agencies’ obligations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi, clause 6 of the Bill enables the Ministers of Education and Māori-Crown relations: Te Arawhiti, after consultation with Māori, to issue a statement specifying what education agencies must do to give effect to the Public Service Bill expectations that relate to Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

The intention of the statement is to provide greater specificity around what those agencies must do to be Te Tiriti o Waitangi compliant.

There is currently a legislative gap in the duty of education agencies to comply with Te Tiriti o Waitangi. There is no statutory specificity on how the Ministry, New Zealand Qualifications Authority, Education Review Office, or Tertiary Education Commission must give effect to Te Tiriti, nor is there any specification of what ‘giving effect’ might look like. This is likely to change as the Public Service Bill will include a prominent clause that affirms the role of the public service in supporting Māori-Crown relations.

Public Service Reforms - State Services Commission website(external link)

Prohibiting the provision of NCEA offshore

NCEA was developed for New Zealand students or those living in New Zealand. It was not intended to be an international qualification. The assessment of achievement standards requires understanding of the National Curriculum and competence in delivering the learning outcomes. This cannot be guaranteed in an offshore setting.

The widespread awarding of NCEA offshore would present logistical difficulties for the NZQA in moderating and quality assuring the assessment standards. This would also create significant risks to the international reputation and credibility of NCEA qualifications.

Clause 426 of the Bill prohibits the provision of NCEA offshore. There are two exceptions to this prohibition:

  • to allow for the continued awarding of NCEA to domestic students through correspondence or distance school enrolment gateways; and
  • to allow for NCEA qualifications to continue to be awarded in countries, such as the Cook Islands and Niue, where the Government has enabled this through government-to-government agreements.

This proposal will still allow tertiary education providers (TEPs) to provide unit standards offshore that will lead to qualifications other than NCEA, and which can also contribute to NCEA, where this provision is not aimed at NCEA.

The prohibition addresses a legislative inconsistency that prevents State schools, apart from correspondence or distance schools, from providing NCEA offshore, while allowing private schools and TEPs to do so. Allowing State schools to offer NCEA offshore would only exacerbate the problems identified above.

Clause 509A of the Bill makes it an offence to breach the prohibition, with a maximum penalty of $10,000. This penalty is consistent with existing penalties for similar offences under the Education Act 1989. NZQA would enforce compliance, with the offence and penalty provisions designed to complement the NZQA’s existing monitoring and enforcement powers.

Strengthening Te Kura’s Governance Arrangements

Currently, the Te Kura board is comprised of a chairperson and up to six members appointed by the Minister of Education by Gazette notice. There is no requirement for a staff member to be on the Te Kura board.

Under clause 118 of the Bill, the Minister must appoint a staff member to the Te Kura board.

Including a staff member on the Te Kura board would:

  • Recognise that staff have an important interest in the board’s decision-making;
  • Ensure that there are opportunities for staff to bring their particular expertise in decisions around the implementation of board decisions; and
  • Provide a stronger connection for staff with the school because they will have a voice in the school’s governance.

It will be up to the Minister to determine whether the staff member is elected, co-opted by the board or appointed by the Minister.

Strengthening the Teaching Council’s Governance Arrangements

Currently, section 380 of the Education Act 1989 provides that the Teaching Council comprises 13 members, with 6 members appointed by the Minister of Education and seven elected members.

Although the Minister of Education appoints the chairperson of the Teaching Council, the Minister has no ability to appoint a deputy chairperson. Clause 7 of schedule 18 of the Bill enables the Minister to appoint a deputy chairperson. The deputy chairperson will be able to perform all of the functions and duties of the chairperson, when the chairperson is unable to do so, including exercising a casting vote.

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