The Education Amendment Bill, which was introduced to Parliament this year, will gradually make a number of legislative changes aimed at strengthening the general education profession.
IT IS THE RESULT of a three-year process of development, drawing on international experience, with widespread consultation beginning in 2010 with the Education Workforce Advisory Group Report, and culminating in the 2013 Ministerial Advisory Group report.
The aim of the Bill is to help the profession meet the challenges and opportunities of modern learning, and promote high standards of safety and accountability for teachers. It will also modernise the governance bodies of universities and wananga – publicly owned tertiary institutions that provide education in a Maori cultural context and offer certificates, diplomas, and bachelor-level degrees up to doctorate level (accredited through the New Zealand Qualifications Authority and the Ministry of Education and partly governed by the Tertiary Education Commission).
The Bill also strengthens the New Zealand Qualifications Authority’s enforcement powers to ensure the sector is delivering high quality tertiary education.
Essentially the new Bill sets up a new professional body, the Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand (EDUCANZ), which replaces the existing NZ Teachers Council.
As an independent statutory body, the new authority will use its skills, expertise and authority to provide important leadership and regulation for the teaching profession. The Bill will also set up a new legal framework for a revised Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students; and establish an independent contract disputes resolution scheme for international students and their education providers.
In the area of industry training, apprenticeships have been expanded through the creation of ‘NZ Apprentices’, which provides support to new apprentices through the Government’s Apprenticeship Reboot. Funding for industry training has also been
increased and employers now have direct access to industry training funding under a new pilot scheme.
“The review found some employers believed their ITO didn’t meet their specific needs,” says Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce.
“Giving employers the option or choice of direct access to industry training funding provides them with a training alternative and, at the same time, will encourage ITOs to provide quality service to their local businesses.”
This is being done through the Government’s Industry Training Fund direct funding pilot.
The first four organisations to receive direct industry training funding are:
Engineering Taranaki Consortium, Southern Group Training (Northland and Southland), Ryman Healthcare (nationwide), and NZ Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated (Bay of Plenty).
A total of 1310 employees are expected to be trained through the four organisations at a cost of $2.09 million.
Steven Joyce says the move will “boost performance and participation, encourage competition and innovation, as well as simplifying the industry training system.” The four organisations were selected following a competitive tender process and were required to show, to the Government, a “commitment to training that will benefit the trainees, their organisations, and the country as a whole,” says Joyce.
“By opening up the Industry Training Fund, employers are now able to provide on-the-job training specifically tailored to their business.
“It differentiates them from other types of tertiary education offered by polytechnics and private training establishments while still giving trainees NZQA-approved qualifications that are transferable.”