Education Amendment Bill (No. 2): New legislation aims for a strong education sector

Issue: Volume 93, Number 5

Posted: 24 March 2014
Reference #: 1H9ctd

Education Minister Hekia Parata welcomed the first reading of the Education Amendment Bill in Parliament on 13 March. The Bill proposes making a number of legislative changes aimed at strengthening the education profession.

“The Government recognises the contribution high-quality teaching makes to raising student achievement. The first reading of this Bill is a key part of a comprehensive, successful, and sustainable plan to raise achievement for all children and young people,” Ms Parata says.

Ms Parata says the Bill proposes to establish the new professional body, the Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand (EDUCANZ), which replaces the existing New Zealand Teachers Council.

“This has been 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.

“Teaching needs a strong professional body that provides leadership to, and is owned by, the profession. As an independent statutory body, EDUCANZ will use its skills, expertise, and authority to provide important leadership and regulation for the teaching profession,” Ms Parata says.

The Bill was referred to the Education and Science Select Committee and the chair has now called for submissions on the Bill.

View details of the select committee’s work(external link)

The closing date for submissions is 30 April.

The Education Amendment Bill (No. 2)(external link) is due to be reported back to Parliament in July.

The Bill proposes to:

  • raise the status of the education profession by creating a professional body for the 21st century: the Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand (EDUCANZ)
  • improve the discipline and reporting requirements that protect children and continue to improve accountability of the education profession
  • modernise the governance of universities and wānanga to ensure they have strong, well-equipped councils that can lead their institutions in meeting modern learning needs
  • strengthen New Zealand Qualifications Authority’s (NZQA) enforcement powers, as well as their ability to ensure the sector is delivering high quality tertiary education
  • establish a new legal framework for a revised Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students
  • establish an independent contract disputes resolution scheme for international students and their education providers.

The Bill proposes that EDUCANZ will:

  • be responsible for ensuring safe and high quality teaching for all New Zealand students
  • operate as an as an independent statutory body
  • invest in leadership, as well as quality teaching, across early childhood education and schooling
  • establish and maintain standards for teacher registration and the qualifications that lead to teacher registration
  • administer a number of changes to registration practices will ensure consistently high professional conduct and education standards
  • strengthen the disciplinary framework for teachers by opening its proceedings, unless there is good reason to withhold names; enable the investigation of matters on its own motion; refer all matters of serious misconduct to the Disciplinary Tribunal; and develop a Code of Conduct
  • protect children by substantially increasing fines for failing to report teacher misconduct.

The Bill proposes to make changes to the governance structures of universities and wānanga by:

  • allowing universities and wānanga to choose their council size (within the minimum of eight members and the maximum of 12 members)
  • allowing the Minister responsible for tertiary education to appoint three members on councils of 8 or 9 members and four members on councils of 10 to 12 members
  • requiring all members to will be appointed based on their skills, knowledge, and/or experience.

The Bill proposes to strengthen New Zealand Qualifications Authority’s (NZQA) enforcement powers, as well as their ability to monitor the sector, by:

  • making it an offence to deny NZQA entry, which is punishable by a fine. NZQA currently has powers of entry and inspection of Private Training Establishments
  • making it an offence to issue a false certificate that closely resembles a qualification on the New Zealand Qualification Framework (NZQF)
  • extending NZQA’s ability to hold individuals and directors accountable, as well as body corporate liability, for offences associated with false qualifications and student records, cheating services, and student fees.

Proposed changes in the Bill will also improve the code for pastoral care of international students by ensuring that international students are safe by allowing swifter sanctions against providers who violate the code, facilitating the resolution of contract disputes and allowing better targeting of non-compliant providers.

The Bill also proposes a few miscellaneous changes, including enabling the Secretary of Education, in consultation with the Auditor General, to specify a format for schools’ annual financial statements.

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero, reporter@edgazette.govt.nz

Posted: 9:04 AM, 24 March 2014

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